Written by Yuvraj Dhillon
Beating LED and LCD technology by miles, this ultra-efficient technology will completely revolutionize the way we view television and lighting, among other applications
Ever seen Harry Potter? Well, if you have watched it, did you notice how the pictures in the newspapers (The Daily Prophet) delivered at Hogwarts (School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) are always in motion? Well, it's supposed to be magic that's making them move…
We can actually create one by simply placing OLED films in the newspaper. But first.
What exactly is OLED?
OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diode is essentially a flat light emitting technology that's made by placing a series of really thin organic films. The films contain organic compounds that produce luminescent light when electricity is passed through them. Since OLEDs don’t really require a backlight, they are much more efficient than LCDs and LEDs.
OLEDs are also super flexible and they can be rolled and packed easily. Imagine rolling up your phone right into your wallet after using it!
Currently, OLED displays are made by evaporating gases in a vacuum chamber, a process that is extremely costly, and one of the major drawbacks of OLED panels. Although, in the future, this can easily be solved by Ink-Jet Printing, a process that is quick and cost-effective.
Advantages of OLEDs over LCDs
Improved image quality- better contrast, higher brightness, fuller viewing angle, a wider color range, and much faster refresh rates.
Lower power consumption.
Simple design that enables ultra-thin, flexible, foldable, and transparent displays.
High durability- They are SUPER durable and can also be used in a broad range of temperatures.
The flexibility of OLED displays is what makes them so useful in exploring a whole range of possibilities.
Applications of OLED displays
Newspapers: Whether it be Harry Potter fans(or even Non-Harry Potter fans)! Everyone wants to see a real newspaper with the President/Prime Minister waving their hand in the pictures. Besides, OLED displays could be really handy in advertising, marketing, and generally informing the public about situations. Well, I sure as heck would not want to miss my copy in the morning!
Television: OLED displays have vast applications in the television industry. In fact, Korea’s LG, a corporate giant in technology, has already begun manufacturing and selling OLED based TVs. As of 2020, LG is the biggest manufacturer of OLED panels, even supplying to other companies like Panasonic, Sony, and Phillips, among others.
LG was also the producer of the world’s first 8K 88 inches OLED TV.
Reviews of OLED TVs are terrific, with everyone agreeing that the picture quality is virtually perfect, with just the right contrast levels and brightness to not hurt the eyes, along with its beautiful form factor. LG is also in the lead to produce the world’s first rollable 65 inch TV screen.
Mobile Devices: LG currently produces flexible OLEDs (branded as pOLEDs), for both wearable devices and smartphones. LG is the exclusive supplier of AMOLED displays for the Apple Watch Series 3 and it also supplies OLED displays for smartphones - such as the 6.4" 1440x3120 notch-type pOLED used in LG Electronics' V40 ThinQ, introduced in October 2018 and the 6" QHD+ display used by Sony in its Xperia XZ3 flagship.
VR and AR: AMOLED’s(Active Matrix OLEDs), are generally perfect for VR technologies, as they have amazing black levels and very quick response times. This is why headlining VR companies like Vive and Oculus use these OLED panels in VR headsets. They are also very convenient for people with glasses, thus beating LCDs, retinal projections, and other display options for VR.
“Size, power, contrast, and color space advantages make OLED microdisplays a perfect fit for near-eye applications. Advances in subpixel patterning and the development of stacked OLEDs promise to extend color space and battery life.” -Uwe Vogel
In the field of AR too, micro-OLEDs can be really useful in making the lens of futuristic glasses that could be used with Google Maps to provide directions, or to cheat in your exams.
OLED Lighting: Imagine having a Coca Cola and suddenly you notice that on the body of the bottle, there is a Star Wars advertisement, and before you know it, you’re watching a teaser of the final battle! Pretty easy to do that using OLED panels.
(I really wish we get to see this treat in India)
Besides the advertisements that could be seen on bottles, walls, and more, there is immense potential in using OLEDs in lamps and as large, efficient, beautiful, and healthy lighting panels that could decorate your home or provide essential lighting in the most efficient way that we know of.
OLEDs can also be used to make beautiful incandescent lamps, that can be easily color tuned to our preferences, produce beautiful limelight patterns, and any other delightful motion that can light up your heart like a flame. Combining them with other lamps, you can also get a beautiful wallpaper for your home.
So as you can see, the applications for OLED technology are potentially endless, as this amazing foldable technology covers a vast range of uses, from healthy lighting in lamps to thin wearable wristwatches on your beautiful hands. OLED is the future in all kinds of lighting, because of its efficiency, thinness, and harmlessness to the eyes.
The only problems with OLEDs are its production cost (which in the future would likely be reduced by inkjet printing), and the relatively short lifespan of OLED materials. But overall, it's a much better alternative to another similar tech like LCD and LED, so the advantages infinitely outweigh the disadvantages.