Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) are ubiquitous in everyday technology, from mobile phones and laptops to car stereos and coffee machines. But the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display is emerging as a credible flat-panel alternative thanks to some important advantages over LCDs.
OLEDs possess the most fundamental feature needed in a display - they look great. As the name implies, OLEDs are diodes and function by injecting holes and electrons into a recombination region from which coloured light emerges. Different organic materials emit red, green, blue or other wavelengths of light, and come in small molecule and polymer form. Because they are emissive, OLEDs also have an excellent viewing angle, good contrast and high brightness.
Flexible OLEDs could be used in applications such as shop signage, electronic shelf labels, novel forms of advertising displays and even electronic books or paper. Most developers agree that even entry-level products are still at least 2-3 years away due to technical challenges, but this represents an important long-term option for OLEDs.