04 Jun 2007
A new report predicts further growth for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, but barriers to their penetration of the television market remain.
The total market for OLEDs in all applications is forecast to rise from 97 million units in 2007 to 312 million units in 2012. As a result, revenues will increase from $833 million to $3 billion over the same period.
The report entitled The Challenge of Partially Replacing LCDs from iSuppli says that subdisplays are likely to be surpassed in total value by main displays during 2007.
The market for passive-matrix OLEDs (PMOLED), however, is predicted to stagnate in value at around $840 million from 2008-2012. Continued overall growth of OLEDs over the period will depend on the successful development of active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLED), such as those recently demonstrated by Sony (see below) and Matsushita.
iSuppli believes that AMOLEDs in sizes suitable for television screens could be available by 2012, but identifies poor manufacturing yields, limited lifetimes and prices remaining high for the foreseeable future as barriers to their penetration of the TV market. AMOLEDs are predicted to remain more expensive than LCD panels for the foreseeable future, which means that unit shipments of OLED-TVs will be limited to less than 0.5% of the worldwide television market in 2011.
• Sony has unveiled what it claims to be the first full-color active-matrix OLED display on a flexible plastic substrate.
The screen is a 2.5-inch diagonal display with 120 x 160 pixels, and has 8-bit gray scales to deliver a full 16.8 million colors. Each red, green or blue subpixel is driven by a two-transistor, one-capacitor voltage programming circuit. The display operates at a frame rate of 60 Hz with a signal voltage of 12 V and has a resolution of 80 pixels/inch.
Using a top-emission structure, the display comprises layers of electrodes, organic TFTs, OLEDs and cathodes, each separated by organic insulators. The structure reportedly allowed the engineers to fabricate the electrodes before the organic TFT layer to prevent damage to the semiconductor layer.
Although the announcement indicates the considerable research efforts underway on OLED and AMOLED technology, the Sony display was a prototype. No finished product or schedule for commercialization was announced.