Technology has changed our lives in ways that we only imagined in our dreams. Imagine a high quality and flexible display that is simple and low cost. Television or computer screens the size of a wall, but only as thin as a sheet of plastic. With colors so bright and vibrant you will feel like your right in the action whether you? re watching your favorite movie or playing your favorite computer game. Sound very unlikely with today? s bulky, heavy, and power hungry Cathode Ray Tubes many times referred to as CRT? s. They are in our TV? s and computers giving off radiation and eating up our hard earn money.
They have become so abundant and easy to manufacture that you can obtain a decent sized computer monitor for less than $100. We? ve tried those sleek and stylish LCD and Plasma screens, but when you look at one you see something missing. Something you could only see in a nice bright and clear CRT display. LCD? s have improved greatly since their first appearance in the large screen display area, but there is only so much that can be done. Plasmas are great also, but they are highly complex and expensive. They suffer from poor brightness and picture quality (zdnet. m). There is a technology being developed in research labs around the world that could change all this (Ibm. com). It? s called an OLED display, and it could truly change the way we look at technology. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, sometime they are referred to as Organic Light Emitting Devices. OLED? s are made from an organic material that has luminescent properties that glows when voltage passes through it. They operate on the principle of converting electrical energy into light, a phenomenon known as electro luminescence.
The basic construction of a single OLED consists of an organic material or a combination of organic materials between to metallic electrodes on a plate of glass. At least one of the metals needs to be transparent in order to observe the light that is emitted. Indium-tin-oxide is a metallic substance that is both conductive and transparent; the other metal can be reflective or also transparent depending on the intended use of the display. The electrodes are then connected to a voltage source. When current is supplied the organic material? toms react with the electric energy and emits energy in the form of light that may have a tinge depending on the organic material used.
The light is bright and vibrant in its natural form. When many of these devices are laid out on a patterned grid and connected to a controlling source, an image can be displayed. (IBM. com) The heart of this technology lies in the ? organic? material used. The detail of the types of substance used is unavailable to the public. It is a proprietary technology that companies such as Kodak, Universal Display Corp, and Cambridge Display Tech, are currently researching and developing (IBM. m). What makes the material organic is the fact that it cannot be man-made; it is a substance that is only found in nature by the result of a living organism fabricating the material possibly as a waste product (Philips. com). There are many different types of OLED? s developed by the different companies researching the technology. Each type has it? s own specific use, and manufacturing process, but they all come down to the exact same principal of an organic substance sandwiched between to conducting electrodes on a plate of glass or plastic.
One of these companies, Universal Display Corporation is currently working on a transparent OLED that can be integrated into car windshields, architectural windows, and eyewear. It is known as TOLED, which stands for Transparent Organic Light Emitting Diode. TOLED could provide us with the tools needed to create futuristic looking technology that we have seen only in Hollywood science fiction movies. Imagine looking at a high detail map in your car windshield right in front of you. How about computer screens embedded into the eyeglasses that you wear every day. These are just some of the many design concepts being developed by engineers. niversaldisplay. com)
TOLED are the fundamental building block for multi-structure OLED screens called SOLED. SOLED stands for Stackable Organic Light Emitting Diodes. TOLED? s can be stacked on top of each other to form a single SOLED pixel. Pixels are the tiny little dots of color in a display. Usually there are 3 different color sections that form a pixel, red, green, and blue. These three primary colors of light are mixed together to form many other colors that create one pixel that can be combined with many other pixels to form a larger image. Any standard display like a CRT or LCD could have millions of tiny pixels.
Colors on LCD and CRT pixels are laid out side by side. This method works well only when all the colors are lit up, but that rarely happens. We get spots of darkness when only the red and green colors are used to make yellow. This is hardly noticeable with smaller pixel screens. In large screen displays the pixels tend to be larger and the darkness in color is much more noticeable. This is what a SOLED prevents. A soled does not lay out the colors side by side; instead they are tiled on top of each other. The result is a screen with higher resolution images and nearly a 100% fill factor.
In other words you will see a remarkably clear and smooth picture no mater what the size of the screen is. (universaldisplay. com) Can you imagine rolling up your laptop screen instead of flipping it closed like a book? Or how about a computer in the shape of a pen, just unroll the screen and you have a full size PDA. There is a special type of OLED called a FOLED or Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode. A FOLED is manufactured on flexible plastic instead of glass. FOLED? s can also be transparent like TOLEDS. Making it possible for gadgets that can only be dreamed of.
FOLED could one day provide the flexibility to change the way technology looks. True portability like roll-up computer or TV screen could one day become a reality. The possibilities are only limited by creativity and imagination of the people designing today and tomorrows technology. (universaldisplay. com) Perhaps the greatest benefit of OLED technology is its cost and efficiency. Unlike LCD? s and Plasmas, OLED? s are a simple concept that does not need complex manufacturing procedures. OLED? s could end up costing less than LCD? s and Plasmas, and even possibly CRT? s once the technology goes into mass production.
For now OLED? ill be priced expensive just like any new technology. OLEDs highly efficient with energy consumption. OLED use much less power than an LCD display and CRT. It only takes 3v to light up an OLED device. LCD? s need a backlight in order for you to see the image. CRT? s use power hungry magnets aim the electrons to display the image. OLED? s only need enough power to cause the chemical reaction with the organic material in order to produce a colored light. There is no need for a backlight or bulky magnets. This provides the flexibility to have laptops or portable devices that could run hours longer on today? s batteries. (news. com)
Companies like Pioneer, Sanyo, and Kodak are concentrating on marketing the technology to small-scale devices. They are trying to get the technology out as soon as possible. The place to start is with small-scale devices to see where the flaws and limitations may arise. It is also a more cost effective choice with a brand new emerging technology since manufacturing cost would start out high. You can already obtain device that are built with OLED? s. Pioneer has already begun to incorporate OLED technology in their satellite radio receivers for cars. Kodak and Sanyo are beginning to ship their digital cameras with OLED displays instead of LCD?
For some time OLED and LCD may remain together in the market. It will be a while until we can see larger size displays for laptops and computer arise. CRT? s will eventually become a technology of the past. Analysts predict that it will be 10 to 12 years before OLED? s become widely available in the consumer market. Until that time come around we can now enjoy the benefits of OLED? s in small device. OLED? s are a truly amazing technology that you have to see, to believe, they will change the way that we look at technology today, and in the future. (Kodak. com)