Highest efficiency panel is boost for flexible OLED screens

Researchers have used a new production method to produce the highest efficiency OLED displays recorded on plastic.

The team at the University of Toronto reckon that the method for producing organic light emitting diodes is low cost and could bring about the proliferation of flexible OLED screens.

Of course it appears that the findings are at the lab stage, so whether they can be scaled up successfully is yet to be seen.

But if they are successful, the team hopes to be able to capitalise on the demand for flexible small screens. Nokia recently showed of a prototype bendy phone at the Nokia World conference, and it is thought that one of the first applications of wonder material graphene could be in flexible panels for smartphones.

In order to reach this goal the Canadian research team has sought to use the high efficiency OLED panels which have seen wide use in Samsung’s high end phones.

OLEDs usually rely on rigid glass in manufacturing, providing high contrast and low energy displays, though generally at a high cost compared to LCD displays.

Interestingly the team have managed to produce a high efficiency flexible panel, even keeping the price down compared to conventional methods, they claim.

Current production methods use heavy metal-doped glass to achieve the bright and clear images that Samsung Galaxy handsets are known for, rendering them heavy, rigid and fragile.

It is not the first time that flexible OLED display have been produced, but the team reckon their method is the first viable method for production due to the ability to achieve high efficiency.

The method involves using a 50-100 nanometre layer of advanced optical thin-film coating material.  This coating technique is applied to flexible plastic, while recreating high refractive index of substrates such as glass.