Monday, March 3, 2008

OLEDs: Past, present and future

First appearing in 1999, the OLED display was expected to be the wunderkind of the flat-panel display world, the LCD killer that would quickly take over across a range of applications. Pundits cautioned, however, that it might take OLED technology until 2002 or even 2003 to scale up to 10 inches.

Flash forward nine years to 2008, and only one 10-inch-plus OLED has made it to production—and that only in relatively small quantities, with the manufacturer reportedly losing money on every one. Otherwise, the OLED has yet to progress beyond a few small-screen applications. What happened? And now that Sony Corp. has started testing the market with an 11-inch OLED TV, what's next?

Two reasons are most often cited for the OLED's failure to meet expectations. The first is that the LCD, ever a moving target, continued its relentless drive to better performance for lower cost, and passive OLEDs became less attractive. The second is that active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) present manufacturing challenges in the active-matrix circuitry, in the display materials and structures, and in the interaction between the circuitry and display. Given the advances in active-matrix LCDs, the investment required to iron out the wrinkles in AMOLEDs and achieve reasonable manufacturing yield just didn't seem worth it. Full article here: EE Times

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