Article last updated on: Jul 10, 2019

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.



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The latest transparent OLED news:

Is Xiaomi developing a transparent OLED monitor in collaboration with Samsung?

In an interesting report from China, it is claimed that Xiaomi is developing a 27-inch transparent OLED monitor, based on panels supplied by Samsung Display. According to the rpeort Xiaomi plans to release this display by 2021.

Xiaomi Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition photo

Last month Xiaomi announced the world's first "consumer" transparent OLED TV, the Xiaomi Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition that features a 55" 120Hz 120Hz WOLED TV panel. The Mi TV Lux is now shipping in China for 49,999 yuan (around $7,200).

OTI Lumionics receives a strategic investment from LG Technology Ventures

LG Technology Ventures (LG's venture capital investment arm) announced a strategic investment in OTI Lumionics. The investment will help OTI accelerate the adoption of its materials including its including its ConducTorr CPM solution for under display cameras.

A few weeks ago OTI announced that its latest version of ConducTorr Cathode Patterning Material (CPM) is ready for mass production and will start shipping in Q4 2020 for use in next generation mobile devices and other displays.

Can a transparent OLED TV show a black color?

In early 2019, LG Display started producing 55” transparent OLED TV panels, and these are slowly entering the market - in commercial displays, transportation displays, and perhaps even the consumer market - with Xiaomi’s first “consumer” transparent OLED TV (although at over $7,000 for a 55” display, it is not really priced at consumer level - and its usability is also not clear).

Xiaomi Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition photo

An OLED display is an emissive display, and some of our readers asked us - how is it possible for a transparent OLED TV to show a black color? Is the image above, released by Xiaomi, a fake?

LG Display supplies transparent OLEDs to subway trains in China

LG Display announced that it has supplied transparent 55" OLED panels that are installed on subway train windows, in Beijing (Line 6) and Shenzhen (Line 10).

LG Display Transparent OLEDs at China's Metro

The transparent OLEDs are used to show news, transit maps or other bits of information. LG says that it will aim to supply similar solutions to other subway networks around the world. LG did not detail how many such OLEDs were installed at subway trains in China.

OTI Lumionics to supply its CPM materials for under-the-OLED camera displays

OTI Lumionics announced that its latest ConducTorr Cathode Patterning Material (CPM) materials will start shipping by the end of 2020 to customers, which will use these to create OLED displays with under-the-display camera and face unlock technologies.

OTI says that the first mobile devices using OTI’s CPM materials are expected to ship in 2021. Last month we reported that Visionox will soon start shipping AMOLED displays with an under-the-display camera, it could be the Visionox is OTI's first customer. OTI received a strategic investment from LG recently, which could hint that LG could be OTI's customer as well.

LGD opens a new OLED showroom, looks to collaborate with other industries to accelerate OLED adoption

LG Display announced that it is aiming to strike strategic cooperations with companies from industries such as the construction, furniture, and interior design, with an aim to find new application for next-generation OLED displays.

LGD opened a new OLED showroom at LG's Science Park in Magok which allows people to experience different OLED products - including transparent and mirror displays, wallpaper displays and "variable TVs" (not sure what is meant by that, perhaps it is a reference to LG's rollable OLED technology). LGD also released the video you see above showing several "virtual" OLED display demonstrations

An interesting Microsoft research project looks at under-the-OLED cameras

OLED producers are looking at under-the-OLED cameras - this is a great technology that could enable complete bezel-less smartphone displays without any pop-up selfie cameras. Samsung, in 2018, announced it is working on several behind-the-OLED sensors, including a camera. But China's Visionox is the first company that actually launched such a technology commercially.

Microsoft research - behind the OLED cameras photo

Microsoft recently published an interesting research project (led by Sehoon Lim) that discusses the potential use cases of under-the-OLED camera and its advantages, and also the challenges - with AI technologies that could assist in solving these issues.

Reports suggest Visionox started to ship AMOLED displays with an under-the-display camera to Huawei and Xiaomi

Last month Chinese OLED producer Visionox launched an under-the-OLED camera technology, branded as InV See - which enables a selfie camera in a full-screen OLED smartphone. According to new report from China, Visionox has already shipped InV See displays to Huawei and Xiaomi which will launch smartphones with these displays soon.

The report suggests that Visionox started to ship these displays in the second half of 2019 - and these deals were worth over 3.5 billion yuan (around $500 million USD).

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