Saturday, March 1, 2008

The OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) Revolution is Here!

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Sony’s Industry First OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) HDTV. You might be tempted to say so what, who cares about a new TV? The reason is that this TV signals the beginning of a "Screen" revolution, Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs).

First, I would like to apologize for breaking my blog format. But, it seems no one is fully understanding the significance of the OLED revolution that has started. How would you like to change the color of your walls, floors, and ceilings instantly, any time you choose? How would you like to turn any surface into a display for your TV or Computer? Quoted from March 1994 Science Magazine, “Imagine, for instance, a 10-foot-wide flat plastic panel on the wall that turns into a TV screen at the touch of a button.” All of these things and more are either here now or on their way.
Everyone needs to understand the amazing technology of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). The emerging field of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) is important because it is going to replace all TVs, monitors, and all other items that require a display. OLEDs will quickly become so inexpensive, they will also pop up in places we did not expect, and on objects that will surprise us.

They are also being looked at to replace light sources as well as photovoltaic (solar) cells. If you did not know before, today you will be learning about what OLEDs are, and how Richard Friend discovered them. What we can do with OLEDs now. And finally, where this technology will take us in the future.

The first thing you’re might be wondering is, what exactly are Organic Light Emitting Diodes, and where did they come from?
There is a simple answer to what an OLED is, a piece of plastic that puts out light. Exactly how they work can be explained fairly easily too. Power or energy comes in one side of the OLED causing a photon of light to be released on the other. A thin film of Organic Light Emitting Polymer put between two electrodes will glow. A polymer needs to show florescence and to conduct electricity to be a Light Emitting Polymer.
In 1989 at Cambridge University in England, Professor Richard Friend discovered that a piece of plastic could produce light. It all happened quite by mistake. Taken from the October 1990 Nature Magazine, “We wanted to sandwich (the polymer) between two electrodes and use it as an insulator in these field-effect transistors. We were seeing how much voltage we could put across it and we saw a light emerging through this structure, actually through one of the electrodes, which was thin enough to be partially transparent. That was in February 1989, and that was the beginning of the polymer light-emitting diode.”
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OLEDS are already being used to make displays of all shapes and sizes.
There are even OLED keyboards. They are easier to make than LCD Screens because rather than use photolithography; they can be made using printers. A display can literally be printed where you want the screen to be.
Also taken from October 1990 Nature Magazine, “What we’ve demonstrated is that we can actually formulate polymer semiconductors as though they were the inks in an ink jet printer. We can then print them in the three colors—red, blue, and green—into the correct position on a screen. That notion of printing rather than using photolithography is very powerful. It is hugely attractive if it turns to be scalable in a manufacturing way. There are huge cost reductions in manufacturing these devices. Printed OLEDs.
Epson is even using OLEDs as print heads.

They say that it is as good as a laser printer.
Light Emitting Polymers are not limited to a certain size as LCD screens. Also from March 1994 Science Magazine, “They could also replace traditional liquid crystal displays, which are limited to a small size.”
OLEDs are lighter, brighter and more durable than any screen out today. Many companies already have products on the market, Phillips, Pioneer. Even Kodak has put OLEDs in its displays, Sony has made bendable screens. Click on video below to see the new screen.

If you’re like me, just thinking about what we can do now gets me anticipating what will happen in the future.
The future of OLEDS is an exciting area. OLEDs could replace the ink in tattoos. This would allow your tattoo to not only be changed at will and become animated, but with a small interface become a PDA or even a computer screen. If you put the tattoo on your knuckles, your hand could become a flashlight.

OLED Laser
If you continue to the next logical step OLEDs, just like LEDs today, could produce OLED lasers coming out of those same knuckles. As reported in Popular Science October 2003 A PDA that Really gets Under Your Skin, “A thin sensor transponder bonded to your skin detects bioelectrical signals and customizes your tattoo accordingly.”
The future of OLEDs will also be in solar cells. Because OLEDS will be able to be painted onto any surface, the outside of your house could become a solar panel. The roads, cars, electric trains, even the tarp you take camping with you could provide power.
From Oh Gizmo September 2006, “Imagine a cell phone with a bright but energy-efficient screen that also recharges itself when not in use. Or windows that collect energy during the day and function as lights at night."
Stated in the April 2000 Chemical Innovation, “Polymers are being developed that use dyes to increase light collection efficiency. Polymerization methods are being developed that increase the structural order, producing more efficient charge transport properties. Perhaps one day, you can convert the outside of your house into one big solar collector using photovoltaic polymer paint.”
It is not hard to imagine OLED paint on the packaging of every item out there. Animated (with sound) cereal boxes, soda cans, chip bags, clothing tags, etc. Every item could carry its own commercial. Companies could also change the displays over the internet. It’s fun to think about the wonderful future of Organic Light Emitting Diodes.
As you see them pop up as the display of your TV, computer, PDA, cell phone, etc. you can turn to your friend and say, “If you think this is cool, wait until you hear what is on the way.” As you tell them about animated tattoos, walls that change color or become giant screens, animated packaging, and solar panels on virtually any surface. You may find your voice getting a little higher, and the pace of your speech quickening. The future is almost here. If we take one more look into it we will see OLED tattoos providing power for the powerful nanites and nano-computers in our bodies that have become our most personal computers systems yet!

1 comment:

erik said...

Creat Article! An OLED News and info website is: and german