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Blue Phosphorescent OLED Could Revolutionize Displays in 2024

We might see cheaper and brighter TVs soon.

Image credit: 8th.creator, Shutterstock

OLED displays are everywhere around us – in smartphones and some TVs – due to their wide viewing angles and bright images. However, they're far from being perfect, although this could change soon when Universal Display Corporation (UDC) starts mass production of blue phosphorescent OLED (PHOLED) materials.

What does it mean for us, simple users? As noted by IEEE Spectrum, OLED displays will become brighter and live longer. But you might be wondering what that mysterious technology is about, so let's take a look.

First of all, OLEDs convert electrical energy into photons and they are normally fluorescent. Such displays turn only 25% of energy into light, and you can probably understand how inefficient that is. PHOLED materials, however, can potentially use everything they have without generating damaging heat, which harms the longevity of your device.

So far, we've had phosphorescent red and green OLEDs, but the blue ones – with the highest energy level – were elusive. But now UDC claims it has finally caught this invention and will have it available in 2024.

“The physics are very challenging, because those short, high-energy wavelengths of light are almost destroying the material as they are being generated,” says Jeff Yurek, vice president of marketing for Nanosys, a quantum-dot manufacturer that is now a division of Shoei Chemical (via IEEE Spectrum). “It’s also hard to do a true 450-nanometer blue [the standard wavelength for blue], not 460 or 470. Some people had written this off as impossible to achieve.”

To summarize, at the moment, smartphone displays can use red and green phosphorescent OLED pixels, and the blue ones are fluorescent (so less efficient). This means screens are not as bright as and don't live as long as they could. Introducing blue PHOLED could enable higher-resolution, brighter displays and better battery life for your phone. 

As for TVs, phosphorescent blue OLEDs can make them cheaper to manufacture. As IEEE Spectrum mentioned, Samsung now uses three layers of material, but PHOLEDs would allow it to reduce that number to two. LG's displays, on the other hand, require two blue layers in the stack, and PHOLEDs should cut it to one layer.

According to DSCC's analyst Robert J. O’Brien, Samsung will be the first to implement the change both to phones and TVs, possibly in 2024, as its researchers have been developing phosphorescent blue OLEDs for years. After this, expect the phosphorescent breakthrough to come to monitors, tablets, and other devices.

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