Researchers at the University of Toronto have made a major push in the printing of flexible OLED surfaces, something electronics manufacturers can't wait to see hit commercial scale. These displays could be used in everything from electronic advertisements to interior decorations for our livingrooms such as glowing curtains or wallpaper that replaces the need for lights. It all sounds very futuristic, but the technology is already rapidly evolving.
According to a press release, University of Toronto is now home to the world's most efficient OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, that are printed on plastic.
Putting OLEDs on plastic is a goal because the surface is flexible, unlike the rigid, heavy glass it is typically printed on for use with monitors or picture frame displays. The plastic allows the surface to be bendable, and cheaper, which means it could be used in a vastly more diverse array of products.
The most efficient OLEDs are typically printed using heavy-metal doped glass. The process is expensive, and the product is heavy and fragile. By perfecting the plastic printing process, and improving the energy efficiency, researchers could come up with solutions that may one day be scaled up. The researchers so far have devised a way to print the world's most efficient flexible plastic OLED displays.
The team achieved "a record efficiency of 50% at 10,000 cd/m2 (a standard florescent light has a brightness of approximately 8,000 cd/m2), which is at least two times more efficient than the conventional OLED," according to University of Toronto.
According to the release, "The research, which was supervised by Professor Lu and led by PhD Candidates Zhibin Wang and Michael G. Helander, demonstrated the first high-efficiency OLED on plastic. The performance of their device is comparable with the best glass-based OLEDs, while providing the benefits offered by using plastic."
The research is published in Nature Photonics.
Here is an interview that explains more about OLEDs, the new technique for printing, and what it could possibly mean for energy efficient lighting and displays.
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