OLED material breakthrough could lead to cheaper phones, TVs, and monitors

In short: Researchers at Pusan ​​National University in South Korea are on the verge of creating economically viable, solution-treated organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that don’t skimp on durability or efficiency. In other words, much more affordable OLED-equipped devices like smartphones, TVs, and monitors might not be too far off.

As the researchers explain, current OLED production is both expensive and labor-intensive. Solution-coated OLEDs promise to be more affordable, but so far have been limited by efficiency and durability issues due to manufacturing challenges.

To work around the problem, researchers synthesized and characterized a cross-linkable hole injection (HIL) layer material with over 99% solvent resistance, and fabricated a solution-cured red phosphorescent OLED device using it. .

The team said the new HIL material has an optimal energy level as well as high mobility and excellent film-forming properties, which are crucial for commercial viability. In fact, according to Professor Do-Hoon Hwang of Pusan ​​National University, the material has achieved higher efficiency and longer life than the most widely used HIL material.

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OLEDs have been around for decades, with the first practical device dating back to Eastman Kodak in 1987. Consumer implementations were still a long way off, and it wasn’t until 2007 that the first OLED TV hit the market in the form of the Sony XEL-1.

Sony’s screen was only 11 inches diagonally and had a resolution of 960 x 540, meaning it didn’t technically even qualify as an HDTV. It debuted with an MSRP of $2,499 and was more of a tech demo than something you’d actually buy for everyday use.

It’s only recently that OLED devices have started to see mainstream adoption as prices have dropped from the stratosphere. OLEDs generally offer much better image quality than LEDs. They are also generally more energy efficient and weigh less than their LED counterparts, and have superior response times.

The research paper on the subject was recently published in Chemical Engineering Journal.

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