Display: Types of OLED
1. Passive-matrix and active-matrix OLEDs.
-Passive-matrix OLED (PMOLED)
PMOLEDs have strips of cathode, organic layers and strips of anode. The anode strips are arranged perpendicular to the cathode strips. The intersections of the cathode and anode make up the pixels where light is emitted. External circuitry applies current to selected strips of anode and cathode, determining which pixels get turned on and which pixels remain off. Again, the brightness of each pixel is proportional to the amount of applied current.
PMOLEDs are easy to make, but they consume more power than other types of OLED, mainly due to the power needed for the external circuitry. PMOLEDs are most efficient for text and icons and are best suited for small screens (2- to 3-inch diagonal) such as those you find in cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players. Even with the external circuitry, passive-matrix OLEDs consume less battery power than the LCDs that currently power these devices.
-Active-matrix OLED (AMOLED)
AMOLEDs have full layers of cathode, organic molecules and anode, but the anode layer overlays a thin film transistor (TFT) array that forms a matrix. The TFT array itself is the circuitry that determines which pixels get turned on to form an image.
AMOLEDs consume less power than PMOLEDs because the TFT array requires less power than external circuitry, so they are efficient for large displays. AMOLEDs also have faster refresh rates suitable for video. The best uses for AMOLEDs are computer monitors, large-screen TVs and electronic signs or billboards.
2. Transparent, Top-emitting, Foldable and White OLED
Transparent OLEDs have only transparent components (substrate, cathode and anode) and, when turned off, are up to 85 percent as transparent as their substrate. When a transparent OLED display is turned on, it allows light to pass in both directions. A transparent OLED display can be either active- or passive-matrix. This technology can be used for heads-up displays.
Top-emitting OLEDs have a substrate that is either opaque or reflective. They are best suited to active-matrix design. Manufacturers may use top-emitting OLED displays in smart cards.
Foldable OLEDs have substrates made of very flexible metallic foils or plastics. Foldable OLEDs are very lightweight and durable. Their use in devices such as cell phones and PDAs can reduce breakage, a major cause for return or repair. Potentially, foldable OLED displays can be attached to fabrics to create “smart” clothing, such as outdoor survival clothing with an integrated computer chip, cell phone, GPS receiver and OLED display sewn into it.
White OLEDs emit white light that is brighter, more uniform and more energy efficient than that emitted by fluorescent lights. White OLEDs also have the true-color qualities of incandescent lighting. Because OLEDs can be made in large sheets, they can replace fluorescent lights that are currently used in homes and buildings. Their use could potentially reduce energy costs for lighting.