UDC updates and booth visit at SID 2012

My first meeting at SID was with Universal Display's Janice Mahon. UDC had some pretty interesting updates for us at SID, and some nice exhibits in the booth as well - only OLED lighting panels, but quite interesting ones. This post will be rather long...

First of all, the company announced advances in evaporated OLED materials. The advances are mostly in the OLED efficiency, which was improved for all colors. Lifetime was improved slightly, but the light blue still offers only 20,000 hours lifetime (LT50). You can compare to the PHOLED specifications from 2011 here.

Due to recent advances, UDC admits that LCDs are now more efficient than OLEDs (at 40% pixels on) - even with a red phosphorescent emitter. They say that now it's even more clear that manufacturers will need to adopt their green materials to get an edge over LCDs. Check out the chart below to see how much PHOLEDs can increase performance (and compare to last year's chart which showed LCDs at over 400 mW):

Janice said that green PHOLEDs were used in just three product (the PSP Vita, the Motorola Droid RAZR and a samsung electronics product, I'm not sure which). All of these products were't very successful . This isn't really news and was discussed before. The company hopes that Samsung will start using green PHOLEDs in more products soon (in 2H 2012).

UDC is also offering host materials, and this (together with the low green PHOLED sales) led to some large fluctuations in the company sales. UDC are now offering red, green and blue host materials, and they believe that all three materials provide a benefit over hosts from other companies.

At UDC's booth, I was mostly impressed with the bezel-free transparent panel shown above. The panel uses UDC's single-layer thin-film hybrid organic-inorganic encapsulation layer, now called UniversalBarrier. This is an interesting technology, but apparently commercialization isn't around the corner yet.

Another cool lighting panel on display was a thin flexible panel made on a metal substrate. The panel was so thin that it actually flapped widely when someone touched the lamp.

UDC is collaborating with Moser Baer on an OLED lighting pilot production facility. The project is coming along, even though it takes longer than expected. UDC only provides technology and materials (it has no plans to become an OLED lighting panel producer and compete with its partners). Apparently Moser Baer's plan is to become an OLED Lighting panel that uses small modular production line that are close to the target market, and that's why they are building this pilot fab.

There were some discussions in the web regarding LG Display's WOLED based OLED TVs, and some people suggested that they are not using phosphorescent materials in those displays. While Janice wouldn't comment on that, LG Display did reveal in one of the Key Note lectures that their are indeed using phosphorescent red and green materials:

During the conference Universal Display also announced a new flexible lighting panel which they believe is the world's most efficient. The 15x15 cm panel features 47 lm/W at 1,000 cd/m2 with an outcoupling enhancement of 1.4X. The panel is built on a plastic substrate and uses UDC's UniversalBarrier encapsulation. The company also reported advances in glass-based white OLED performance, with the new 15x15 cm panel featuring 70 lm/W, 30,000 hours of lifetime (D70, at 1,000 cd/m2) and a CRI of 85:

Finally, UDC presented a new approach to increase RGBW (WOLED-CF) OLED panel effiency using Color Down-Conversion Layers (CDCL). These materials can convert light to a different color, and this can mean that less light is lost in the filters. For example, a CCDL used before the red color filter can be used to convert the green component of the white light to red. Using CCDLs in front of the red and green color filters can save up to 20% of the power according to UDC.

It seems that UDC is quite confident in the company's future and OLEDs as a whole. I left the booth with a very good feeling as a UDC shareholder. Finally, here are some photos I took at UDC's booth:

Disclosure: the author is holding shares in UDC...

Posted: Jun 11,2012 by Ron Mertens


As someone who is working in the lighting industry I have to say that I was not really all that impressed with the UDC booth. Sure most of the stuff looked nice (except for the flexible 'luminaire' which I have to say looked downright ugly to me), but the light output was nowhere near what you need for general illumination and they very obviously still have problems with angular color dispersion (even though they used that nicely in one of their concept luminaires at the booth).

The bezel-free panel looked nice, but at the light output shown I do not see how it can be used for anything but purely artistic lighting. Now if they can show that this concept also works for higher luminances and efficiencies, then we might be talking.

Of more interest were the numbers that they presented at the symposium, because those showed that they are still improving in efficiency and lifetime and while they are still not their this at least gives hope for the future.

Remember that UDC is not a luminaire maker. These are just samples and prototypes used to advance the technology and demonstrate it...

Sure but as I said the reason I was not all that impressed by their booth was not the design of the samples and prototypes as such. The reason was that I didn't really see a major breakthrough. With the exception of the bezel free panel (that looked really nice but had next to no light output even compared to other OLEDs) the concepts they showed have been around for quite some time and while there was undoutedly quite a bit of improvement compared to the last years, the prototypes they showed were still not nearly bright enough to light anything and even more importantly clearly still had major lifetime issues.

Let me put it that way: It was a really nice booth, but I don't really think that they showed a major breakthrough or a gamechanger with respect to OLED Lighting. Because of this from my point of view it was nice but maybe not as impressive as in the article.

The improvement of the technology is step by step, or it is a long time and gradual process. Otherwise, it will be a revolution.

During this process, there are always quite of barriers. However, most of them could be overcome by scientists with enough time passing. Just be patient.........@_@