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Active-matrix OLEDs set for break-out year

23 Apr 2008

Passive-matrix OLED displays dominated the market in 2007, but will be surpassed by shipments of active-matrix OLEDs by 2012.

Total sales of organic light-emitting diode displays, including both passive-matrix (PMOLED) and active-matrix (AMOLED) varieties, will grow from $826 million in 2008 to $1.5 billion in 2009. By 2012 the market will have reached $3.1 billion, although by then annual growth will have slowed from 69% to 19%.

"2008 will be a breakout year for AMOLED displays," said Barry Young of market analysts DisplaySearch. "Almost 17 million will be delivered, which is a rise of over 380% compared to 2007."

According to a new report from DisplaySearch, PMOLEDs dominated the market in 2007 with shipments of over 72 million screens compared to 3 million AMOLEDs. But strong triple-digit growth is predicted for active-matrix products over the next five years, while passive-matrix screens are expected to grow by a modest 5-7% per year. By 2012, AMOLED shipments will surpass those of PMOLEDs.

As a result, revenue from passive-matrix screens will remain flat at just under $400 million per year during the five-year period. In contrast, revenues from active-matrix screens will leap from $93 million to $2.7 billion at an average growth rate of 96%.

The displays will be used in mobile phones, digital cameras and digital camera frames. "By 2009 OLED display manufacturers are expected to commence shipments of displays for notebooks and then move rapidly into televisions," noted Young.

Other findings in the report include:

• The use of excimer laser-based low temperature polysilicon manufacturing processes has allowed AMOLED producers to achieve yields greater than 75% in backplane manufacture. New approaches for polysilicon and amorphous silicon backplane technology are being developed, along with potential alternative materials.

• Co-operation between the makers of transport and injection layers and the suppliers of hosts and dopants has accelerated improvements in material lifetimes. Both lifetime and efficiency of OLED materials are setting new records.

• In solid-state lighting, producers will be challenged to improve efficiencies to 100 lm/W while increasing the lifetime. The cost of the production process remains the biggest challenge, and at present is orders of magnitude higher than existing lighting approaches. This means that manufacturers will initially need to find niche markets. New approaches to manufacturing include the roll-to-roll process recently announced by GE.

• The standard approach to device architecture, using RGB with single transport/injection layers is being challenged. New device architectures using micro cavities and luminaires are being designed to increase the external quantum efficiency. White with RGBW colour filters designed in a tandem architecture as practiced by Kodak is gaining momentum.

The OLED Technology Report is available from DisplaySearch.

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