By now, you know all about the global shortage of OLED panels. The only panel builder of note so far is Samsung SDI, which currently pumps almost every screen it builds into smartphones from the handset-building sister division of Samsung.
SDI just started production in a second OLED factory two months ahead of schedule, dramatically increasing its monthly output, and LG Display
OLED technologist and longtime Rule Breaker Universal Display
But hyper-efficient manufacturing was actually always an important part of the OLED promise. Now, the technology behind printing screens through a modified inkjet mechanism is finally coming of age. Perfecting this stuff will break down the last barriers to OLED in every device and application you'd want to have it, and that day is getting closer.
At the SID Display Week trade show earlier this month, printed OLED screens were showcased by Sony
All three firms had working examples on the show floor, though none is quite ready for full-scale production yet. Some kinks in the system have to be worked out first, such as the expected lifetime of printed display pixels. To give you some idea of the efforts being put into that problem, DuPont quadrupled the lifetime of its green pixels over the last year. Those green pixels will burn bright through more than 53 years of constant use while the blue ones would currently fade after less than four years.
True commercial success will come when the OLED folks redefine the term "screen printing" on a large scale. Keep an eye out for that momentous event by adding Universal Display to My Watchlist.
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