Printing OLED displays: has their time finally come? Asks IDTechEx: Page 4 of 5

February 25, 2019 //By Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh
Printing OLED displays: has their time finally come? Asks IDTechEx
Solution processed light emitting organic materials were demonstrated in 1989 with a tiny 0.1 EQE (external quantum efficiency). Since then there has been tremendous progress on material synthesis/production as well as on display processing. However, thus far, commercialization has remained elusive, but a page may be about to turn.

Today, inkjet-printed mid-size, e.g., 21.6", 204PPI OLEDs displays are transitioning into production by a Japanese consortium. This consortium brings together Japanese material suppliers, equipment makers, and display manufacturers. We feel that the objective of the consortium is to pool the early risks involved in the learning curve of printing OLED displays. But once the technical hurdles will be sufficiently overcome and the technology mature enough, there will likely be a tech transfer from the consortium to a display maker.

Interest is not limited to Japanese and Chinese makers though. In fact, even today's leading OLED manufacturers are, and have been, actively developing printing technology. Indeed, there are many strong strategic motivations that keep printing firmly on the agenda. First, those with an FMM technology want to urgently obtain or establish a technology towards large are OLED displays. Second, incumbents are concerned that printing can one day bring about a step change in the production cost, thus reconfiguring the competitiveness map to leave them behind. Third, they see the mastery of display printing as being essential for quantum dot (QD) displays.
In the latter case printing will be heavily used. It will be used in QD colour filter displays both on LCDs and OLEDs. More importantly, in the long term, it will be used to develop the ultimate QLED (quantum dot light emitting diode). We say ultimate because this display technology, despite its current immaturity and technology challenges, offers complete contrast, extremely wide colour gamut, thinness, flexibility, etc.

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