What’s an OLED Display?

OLED, short for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, is a next-generation technology for lighting and electronic displays. OLED is primarily a light source but the term is also used for the associated display technology. The term organic in the abbreviation refers to the fact that the materials used are based on carbon instead of the much more common silicon.

OLED vs LED and other LCD Displays

The keyword in the OLED acronym is organic, and this makes it a wholly different light-emitting diode than other LEDs, with the light-emitting layer is comprised of a thin film of organic (carbon-based) compounds. This electroluminescent layer is arranged in rows and columns on a display matrix, and directly emits light in different colors.

While OLEDs can be used as general purpose light sources, they are thus far more widely used in different types of displays, including computer monitors, television screens and smartphones.

One of the major benefits with OLED display technology compared to traditional LED light sources is that OLED diodes can produce both light and colors, so they don’t require separate backlighting. This results in a lower power draw, which is a particularly significant advantage when powered from a battery, meaning that they can operate longer on a single charge.

What are the advantages of OLED technology?

  • Vibrant colors
  • High contrast (no light leak)
  • Excellent grayscale
  • Broad viewing angles
  • Full-motion video
  • Wide viewing angles from all directions
  • A wide range of pixel sizes
  • Low power consumption
  • Low operating voltages
  • Wide operating temperature range
  • Long operating lifetime
  • Thin and lightweight form factor
  • Displays can be flexible
  • May be translucent

What about the disadvantages?

The main disadvantage of OLED displays is that large panels are very expensive, but we expect prices to decline as technology matures.

There is also aspect of a limited life span. The organic, electroluminescent material used will not last forever. It is expected that a standard OLED display can be used for more than 20,000 hours, which is equivalent to five hours a day for eleven years.