What Is OLED Display Technology? Organic Light Emitting Diode Displays by Sony, Samsung Save Energy
First came the CRT monitor, but it was big and used a lot of power. The CRT gave way to the now ubiquitous LCD monitor which saves desk space and electrons at the same time. The next step in the evolution of computer monitors and televisions may come from a more organic source. New Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED's) are poised to become the thinnest and most ecologically-friendly screens on the planet, but don't look for any at the local big box store any time soon.
OLED Monitors Explained
In a traditional LCD monitor, tiny little pixels turn on and off to create the image that you see. Unfortunately these pixels do not produce their own light, and thus require some form of backlight shining through them to make an image your eyes can appreciate. OLED monitors use an organic component that creates its own light, removing the need for backlighting and in return reducing power consumption and overall size.
OLED is not a new technology, in fact it has been around for several years now, but until recently manufacturers have been unable to produce consumer grade products that could be mass-produced. Samsung was one of the first to debut a working 21 inch OLED monitor back in 2005.
The Future of OLED Displays
Perhaps the most intriguing possibilities for OLED screens lays in the flexibility that an OLED can achieve. Engadget has photos of a demonstration model by Sony that is as thin as a sheet of transparency film and just as flexible.
Similar to the fictional roll-up displays used in the science fiction movie, Red Planet, future OLED applications may one day roll up when not in use or even be used as wallpaper allowing a homeowner to change their wall color at the press of a button.
While these ideas are intriguing, they are for now in the distant future. In the present, Sony has produced its first mas marketed OLED television monitor, the XEL-1 (see photo below this article) with an incredibly thin screen and incredibly high price tag.
The biggest problem facing manufacturers of OLED monitors and television screens is that currently the organic components degrade the more they are used. DevHardware reports that similar to problems with the first plasma televisions, OLED's lose their brightness over time. Once this problem is overcome, OLEDs have the potential to be cheaper, larger, and use a fraction of the energy current LCDs use.
Once the technology is perfected look for OLED monitors to take the world by storm promising vibrant colors, extra long battery life for portable devices, and a low price tag thanks to Organic Light Emitting Diodes.
Author: Chad Criswell