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Scientists improve blue OLEDs

Scientists improve blue OLEDs

The next big screen you buy could well be an OLED unit if the research carried out by Sung Ho's team pans out.

Scientists at the South Korean Pusan National University and Seoul National University have made a breakthrough that could lead to big-screen, energy efficient OLED displays.

The organic light-emitting diode technology, which has seen use in several small-scale applications, offers improved energy efficiency and a greater field of vision over standard liquid crystal display systems, but its developers have had trouble recreating the blue layer needed to generate high-quality RGB displays. According to Gizmodo, that's no longer a problem.

Professor Jin Sung Ho, the lead on the project to improve OLED technology, believes that his team's breakthrough in creating a high-quality blue layer to add to existing red and green layers will lead to large-scale “energy efficient” displays that could easily replace existing LCDs in current TV and monitor manufacturing. If the technology pans out, it could finally offer big-screen enthusiasts an option for blacker blacks and an end to 'smearing' that cheaper LCDs can suffer from.

That said, the report is lacking in substance at the moment: there's no talk of viable prototype yet, much less commercialisation. It's likely that the new technology could take several years to bring to market – so don't hold your breath for a top-notch 50” OLED TV for your big-screen gaming just yet.

South Korea certainly has an interest in developing OLED further, however: as the current largest producer of LCDs in the world, a breakthrough in efficiency and quality of the technology many are seeing as its logical successor would stand them in good stead for keeping the display manufacturing crown.

Hoping to see big-screen OLED TVs available the next time you're looking to upgrade, or has current LCD technology improved enough that OLED is superfluous? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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p3n 25th November 2008, 13:18 Quote
If someone can make an LED bright enough to power a projector that'd be neat (no cost, replacement, heat, noise) until then gogo gadget LCD tv :p
steveo_mcg 25th November 2008, 13:36 Quote
Did any one else think bugger more blue leds in things.
mclean007 25th November 2008, 15:51 Quote
The longer it takes to bring OLED to market, the more improvements to LCD and plasma there will be to erode the benefits of the technology. You can now get LCD TVs with local dimming LED backlights - presumably derived from the "Brightside" technology featured in a bit-tech article back in 2005 - http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/10/03/brightside_hdr_edr/1 - which effectively solve the contrast ratio issue with LCD while at the same time offering a wider colour gamut. Picture processing has evolved to such a level that smearing / motion blur is all but eradicated on high end LCDs now, and that will inevitably filter down to the lower end soon enough. From the plasma side, you've got Pioneer completely redefining the concept of black levels with its KURO range. Image burn is much less of an issue than it was with early plasmas.

So where does that leave us? OLED's contrast ratio is unlikely to be better than will be achieved on even mid-range LCD and plasma screens by the time OLED hits in volume, and it's response time is unlikely to make a difference now that smearing / motion blur is effectively solved. It has the potential to be lighter, slimmer and lower power (none of which is likely to be a deal breaker in the mass market, though all other things being equal it could be persuasive, and there will of course be a market which will pay a premium for a super-slim TV). OLED has better viewing angles than even the best LCDs, though plasma doesn't tend to suffer in that department. And that's about it.

Ultimately it will come down to price. OLED will inevitably debut in high-end TVs and filter down. If it can compete price-wise with LCD and plasma TVs of similar quality, then it may take over the world. Right now I'm sceptical. Ask me again in 2015!
UrbanMarine 25th November 2008, 16:03 Quote
I liked some of the ideas devs have for OLED display layouts in commercial use. Being able to wrap a screen around a pillar or oddly shaped object is quite fascinating. A light flexible display would be awesome.

I'll be using my plasma for awhile because I use TVs until they blow up. I've only changed my PC monitors once (CRT->LCD). Next purchase when they get cheaper will be a 27+inch PC monitor.
Mongoose132 25th November 2008, 16:05 Quote
Damn.

Just bought a new 37" LCD >.<
salesman 25th November 2008, 16:37 Quote
mclean007, there is only so far that they can push a technology, and right now LCD and plasma are at its threshold. I do believe you are correct though by the time oled tvs come out the improvements it has will not make it much better then existing technology has to offer right now. However there is a great deal more in this then we know. I think it will be a long time as well.
metarinka 25th November 2008, 17:10 Quote
Contrast ratio, overall colour gaumt, energy efficiency and viewing angle. Some of the problems whilst they can improve them are inherent to LCD/Plasma technology and will never be overcome. Whilst they are getting better, they will never be trully overcome. I think Oled will hit big in the portable electronics market, video players, cell phones etc where it's benefits really shine through (less energy consumed, thinner).

To my understanding OLED has the chance to have extremely high contrast because when a pixel turns off that's it, there's no backlight
Nexxo 25th November 2008, 17:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
If someone can make an LED bright enough to power a projector that'd be neat (no cost, replacement, heat, noise) until then gogo gadget LCD tv :p

Already done. The Samsung MBP-100, 3M Mpro110 and Optoma Pico Projector portable projectors are backlit by a white LED. All cost around £250,-- to 300,--.

As for OLED displays: their strength will be in low-power portable applications. If they get cheap enough to make on a large scale, they will make the leap to big sets. Power consumption will become an issue in the future...
rhuitron 26th November 2008, 09:16 Quote
I Cant wait!!!
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