Future of OLEDs
Paving New Ways for OLED Technology
OLED technology may usher in a new era of large-area, transparent, flexible and low-energy display and lighting products.
The flexibility of OLEDs enables manufacturers to produce OLEDs using roll-to-roll manufacturing processes, and allows for the production of flexible display and lighting products. OLEDs are commercially produced on rigid glass substrates mainly. However, first applications like watches or bent displays using flexible OLEDs have entered the market lately.
Developing sufficiently durable and flexible OLEDs will require better materials and further development of manufacturing tools and processes. Flexible plastic substrates need improved barrier layers to protect OLEDs from moisture and oxygen. Thin-film encapsulation also is needed to create thin and flexible metal- and glass-based OLEDs.
These advances ultimately may lead to very flexible OLED panels for both display and lighting products, ensuring that any surface area – flat or curved – will be able to host a light source. Recent demonstrations by display and lighting companies already have hinted at the potential of flexible OLED technology. Substantial development efforts are being invested in this area and, if successful, flexible OLED panels may become commercially available as early as the last half of this decade.
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