OLED technology enables thin, efficient and bright displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are currently used in many mobile devices, some TVs and lighting fixtures. OLED displays offer a better image quality compared to LCD or Plasma displays - and can also be made flexible and transparent.
The actual OLED materials are transparent, and indeed it's possible to fabricate transparent OLEDs (sometimes refereed to as T-OLEDs). Many OLED makers are developing transparent OLEDs, and we have seen prototypes up to 55" in size (the largest and most advanced transparent OLED prototypes have been demonstrated by Samsung and LG). Samsung did intend to start producing 55" transparent OLEDs in 2016, but later decided to stop that program.
Small (up to 2.4" in size) transparent OLED displays have been in the market for several years - but applications have been few and far between. Both Neoview Kolon and Futaba used to produce such displays (in April 2013 we posted a review of Futaba's 2" 160x128 transparent PMOLED panel - but both companies stopped producing these OLEDs and currently it is difficult to acquire non-custom transparent OLEDs.
Transparent OLED Lighting
OLED technology can be used to make lighting panels - these are thin, area-lit and efficient lighting panels, that can be made transparent. Unlike displays, transparent OLED lighting panels have more immediate applications (embedded in windows, for example). In April 2012 we posted our hands-on review with a transparent Tabola OLED lighting panel sample.
OLED-Info's Transparent OLEDs Market Report
OLED-Info offers a comprehensive Transparent OLED Market Report which gives all the information you need to understand this market and the future of transparent OLEDs. The report explains:
- Transparent OLED properties and advantages
- What are the main challenges towards transparent OLEDs
- What kind of transparent OLED displays are currently on the market
- The transparent OLED lighting market
The report package also provides a complete list of transparent OLED developers and makers and their current (and future) products, and a lot more. Read more here!
The latest OLED encapsulation news:
In November 2015 Planar launched its LookThru displays, based on 55" FHD transparent OLED panels made by Samsung Display. SDC stopped producing these OLEDs shortly after, though, and Planar had to halt its sales.
In February 2019 LG Display launched its own 55" FHD transparent OLED production, and now Planar announced its 2nd-Gen LookThru (LO552) displays - which are likely based on LGD's panels this time.
Wisechip recently started shipping a new dot-matrix transparent PMOLED (1.51" 128x56, light-blue) and the display is now available on the OLED Marketplace. It's been many years since a standard dot-matrix transparent OLED was available, so this is great news.
In February 2019, at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) tradeshow, LG Electronics launched its 55" transparent touch-enabled OLED displays. The displays are not available commercially yet, but LG seems to be advancing and we now know the first such display model number - the 55EW5F.
We still do not have the specification of LG's first transparent OLED signage, but the company latest prototype shown at CES 2019 featured a transparency of 40% - so we can assume that these new commercial displays feature the same transparency. It is also likely that they are touch enabled (that's what been shown in previous trade shows).
Panasonic has been showing transparent OLED display prototypes and concepts since 2016 (with the latest one shown last year in Shanghai) and today the Japanese TV maker has demonstrated a new transparent concept OLED display.
The new display, designed by Scandinavian based designer Daniel Rybakken in collaboration with Panasonic Design Kyoto uses a transparent OLED panel housed in a wooden cabinet that looks like a regular glass cabinet.
Tianma demonstrated new display technologies at Embedded World in Germany, including two new OLED prototypes. First up is a 10.3" 91 PPI transparent AMOLED panel that features a transparency of up to 50% and high brightness (not disclosed).
The second display is a 4.92" 403 PPI AMOLED that was produced using an ink-jet printing process. Tianma's technology was jointly developed with Guangdong Juhua Printing and Display Technology (which was established in 2016 by CSoT and TianMa).
Last week the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) event took place, and LG Electronics demonstrated its latest OLED and LED signage solutions. LG also used the event to launch its 55" transparent touch-enabled OLED displays:
LG has been demonstrating 55" transparent OLED displays for many years, and the latest prototype shown at CES 2019 featured a transparency of 40%. We can assume that these new commercial displays feature the same transparency. It is not clear yet when these displays will start shipping - and what will be the price.
LG is set to finally launch its 55" transparent OLED displays at ISE 2019 (Amsterdam, Feb 5-8). LG Business Solutions published this teaser video showing the T-OLED signage displays:
LG has been demonstrating 55" transparent OLED displays for many years, and the latest prototype shown at CES 2019 featured a transparency of 40%.
LG Display had an impressive booth at CES 2019, show off the company's latest display technologies - and most of these were OLED displays, of course. LGD sent us this nice video that shows the main displays at their booth:
The video shows LG's flower OLED installation made up from four curved 65" OLED TV panels, the 88" Crystal-Sound-OLED (CSO) panel with the built-in speaker, LG's new 65" Crystal-Motion OLED (which features an MPTR of 3.5 ms - the world's fastest according to LGD) and finally LG's latest 55" transparent OLED panels.
LG Display is showing 55" transparent OLED TVs at CES 2019, and here's a video that shows the display in action:
LGD says that its 55" OLEDs feature a transparency of 40%. The company has been showing its large-area transparent OLEDs for many years, but we're still waiting for this technology to be commercialized.
LG Display announced the OLED displays it will demonstrate at CES 2019, starting on Tuesday January 8th. We already know that LG Electronics will launch a 88" 8K OLED TV (the OLED Z9) but now LGD says it will demonstrate a 88" Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) panel - which has a sound system built into the panel (which acts as the membrane).
LGD will also unveil a 65" 8K OLED - which you can see in the image above.