Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

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Results Magazine

Nº 68
DEC 2017/JAN 2018
Special Feature
Seeking an edge in OLED technology
OLED technology recently made its most noticed entrance on the mainstream market yet, with Apple’s take on what a 10th anniversary iPhone should look like. But there is actually much more to OLED than the eye-flattering colours and better contrast of the displays it powers. The technology is on the verge of a major breakthrough, and EU-funded research is helping shape the future of this rapidly advancing market which is set to be worth USD 44 billion by 2020.
Seeking an edge in OLED technology
OLED – for more innovation than meets the eye
A few weeks ago, OLED technology made its most noticed entrance on the mainstream market yet, with Apple’s take what a 10th anniversary iPhone should look like. The company’s influence on the the market and its financial weight will undoubtedly benefit the technology by pushing competitors to follow suit and providing economies of scale. Besides, there is actually much more to OLED than the eye-flattering colours and better contrast of the displays it powers – which have slowly been making their entrance in smartphone and TV markets since 2012.

After a long gestation – OLED technology was first invented by Kodak in 1987 – most observers agree that the time has come for OLED to break through. This flat light emitting technology, which consists in organic thin films placed between between two conductors that light up when electrical current is applied, is turning heads among display, printed electronics and lighting application manufacturers.

In 2020, the OLED market is expected to be worth close to USD 44 billion, against 16 billion in 2016. Compared to LED technology, OLED is much more energy-efficient. It is bendable and even rollable, offers great image quality, better durability, transparency and lighter weight.

Some barriers, however, are still preventing the OLED market from truly blossoming. Cost is probably the most important one, especially when combined with OLED’s sensitivity to oxygen and moisture. If OLED is to take over the lighting and display markets, the industry will have to solve the encapsulation issue by finding a cheap encapsulation process to protect OLED films whilst maintaining their flexibility.

This month’s special feature tackles this issue and others, such as increased efficiency, the development of new OLED devices for smart glasses and fingerprint scanners, or the use of OLED technology for the optogenetic control of neurons. A total of eight projects recently or soon-to-be completed have been selected for their ability to shape the future of this promising market.

Besides these, others project outcomes are presented across nine themes of research: health, society, transport, environment, agriculture and forestry, industry, information and communication technology, space and fundamental research.

We look forward to receiving your feedback. You can send questions or suggestions to: editorial@cordis.europa.eu

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