The Fraunhofer FEP Monarch flexible transparent OLED lighting kit - hands on review

In 2018 the Fraunhofer FEP institute announced it is starting to offer a design kit that includes several flexible and transparent OLED lighting panels. The Monarch Kit includes several colored butterflies samples, and the researchers were kind enough to send us one such kit for a short review.

So first of all, these OLEDs look beautiful. They shine a beautiful uniform colored light and are very nicely done. There's not much functionality, but it shows the potential of flexible OLED lighting quite nicely.

The Korea government to establish a $470 million OLED R&D center

The South Korean government announced a seven-year project to establish an OLED R&D and manufacturing facility in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province.

The Korean government will spend 528 billion Won (around $468 million USD), it's largest ever R&D project, to build the R&D center and manufacturing facility, which will include 61 manufacturing and production systems, including several OLED evaporation systems. The R&D facility will conduct over 66 planed projects, focusing on technologies such as flexible OLED encapsulation, cost-cutting methods, next-generation displays and more.

OLEDON developed a vertical-plane source deposition technology suitable for ultra-large substrates

Korea-based OLEDON announced that it has developed a vertical-plane source deposition technology that can be used to produce both small-area and large-area OLED panels. The company is now adapting this technology for ultra-large substrates - up to 12-Gen (3300x4000 mm) in size.

OLEDON OLED TV vertical plane source evaporator

OLEDON says that currently-used inline evaporation processes lower the yields for large-area production due to FMM sagging and difficult control of the multiple sources. The company's vertical plane source deposition may prove to be a viable alternative.

IHS: the AMOLED FMM market will reach $1.2 billion in sales in 2021

Analysts from IHS say that as AMOLED displays continue to replace LCD displays and the AMOLED market is growing quickly - the market for fine metal mask (FMM) components will also experience fast growth in coming years.

AMOLED FMM revenue forecast (2017-2022, IHS)

IHS sees the FMM market in 2017 generate $234 in revenues. The market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38% until 2022 - to reach $1.2 billion. IHS says that FMM production is a challenge and FMM technology has become a bottleneck as display resolution is increasing and the number of FMM suppliers is limited. The leading producer is Dai Nippon Printing, and the company's FMM masks are using to produce the majority of AMOLED displays.

UDC accelerates its OVJP R&D, shows how the process works

Universal Display recently announced that it is accelerating OVJP R&D, and the company is looking to commercialize this technology with partners. UDC expects it to take a few years before OVJP can really be deployed in production. The company published the video below that shows off the technology and explains the basic principles and advantages.

OVJP stands for Organic Vapor Jet Printing, and the basic idea is to use a gas-stream based process that resembles ink-jet printing but one that uses evaporation OLED materials which outperform soluble ones. In an OVJP process, the OLED materials are evaporated into a carrier gas that delivers them to a jet engine for direct printing of patterned OLED layers. OVJP is intended for large-area OLED displays and can be scaled up to 10-Gen substrates according to UDC.

OLEDON developed a 0.38um shadow mask technology that enables 2,250 PPI

OLEDON announced that it has developed a plane-source evaporation shadow mask process that can achieve a shadow distance of 0.38um - which can enable OLED display resolution to reach 2,250 PPI. The company says it technology will be able to achieve 3,300 PPI in the future.

OLEDON plane source FMM evaporator slide (SID 2017)

OLEDON is not alone in the development of plane-source evaporation technology. In November 2016 Sunic Systems announced that it developed a similar AMOLED production process - that can also achieve 2,250 PPI. It may be that Sunic and OLEDON are collaborating on this, it is not clear.

Merck - printed red, green and blue OLED efficiencies are now comparable to vapor-processed ones

Merck is going to discuss its latest soluble OLED material performance at SID DisplayWeek 2017 next month. Merck will detail the printed device efficiencies, voltages, and colors.

According to Merck, the efficiencies of its soluble OLED emitters are now comparable to state-of-the-art vapor-processed devices. Merck will also suggest a move from an evaporated blue common layer device architecture to a printed blue.

IHS sees the OLED production equipment market reaching $9.5 billion in 2017

IHS says that the OLED industry is now entering a huge capacity-growth phase, and IHS estimates that the AMOLED production equipment market will reach $9.5 billion in revenues in 2017.

AMOLED equipment revenue (2015-2018, IHS)

Almost half of that amount will go to TFT backplane equipment ($4.4 billion in 2017), while the organic layer deposition market will reach 2.2 billion and the encapsulation tools market will reach $1.2 billion. IHS estimates that Canon Tokki is the leader in OLED deposition equipment, and has a market share of over 50%.

Vacuum chamber impurities found to decrease the lifetime of OLED panels

Researchers from Kyushu University discovered that lifetime of OLED displays is compromised during the evaporation production process due to small amounts of impurities in the vacuum chamber.

Vacuum impurities effect on OLEDs (Kyushu)

The researchers examined the production process and found that there are many impurities floating in the vacuum even when the deposition chamber is at room temperature. They found a strong correlation between the time the OLED is placed in the deposition chamber and its lifetime.