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Korean Scientists Develop Super Thin OLED Displays Using Graphene Electrodes

18 Apr, 2017
Korean Scientists Develop Super Thin OLED Displays Using Graphene Electrodes

The world’s first prototype of a graphene-based transparent OLED screen was demonstrated at the Society for Information Display’s annual symposium and trade show.

An outcome of a partnership between two pioneering institutes, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and Hanwha Techwin of South Korea, the transparent electrodes for OLED displays are super-thin, flexible and made from graphene (the current darling of the innovation world).

So what’s the big deal about it?

Traditionally indium tin oxide (ITO) is used for making OLED panels. But ITO is fragile and difficult to use as they break easily. We had explained the material excellently in an earlier article covering an invention by some physicists at Sussex, England. You should read that to know more about the material and why it’s begging to be replaced.

to continue the current story, the advent of flexible displays is dispelling the possibility of using indium tin oxide and thus, manufacturers and scientists alike, have been on a lookout for an alternative. Some considered materials like plastics, however most arrived at the same conclusion – the biggest potential lies in Graphene.

Graphene based technology is a giant leap forward and Korea’s ETRI and Hanwha Techwin are pioneering the technology and techniques needed to harness this dynamic material.

What is so great about Graphene?

Well, it’s an “atomic scale two-dimensional hexagonal lattice” which is as thin as you can get at moment, highly flexible, stronger than steel (literally) and a great conductor of heat and electricity.

The research for the project began in 2012 supported by trade ministry of the country. Several other researchers too, tried their magic to produce something on similar lines, but ETRI + Hanwha Techwin became the first to crack the nut.

The team managed to produce world’s largest OLED panel measuring 370×470 millimetres with an approximate thickness of 5 nanometers. Yup, that last one’s right – 5 nanometers.

Excited suddenly? So were we!

The tech has a lot of applications – most obviously in wearables and flexible devices (textiles too!) Just imagine what this new technology could do in conjunction with the minor miracle that scientists in the North Carolina State University have recently created – touch sensitive cloth!

I’m sure you can imagine how large the demand for OLED displays is – you can easily estimate it when you read of a company like Apple placing an order of 70 (or was it 100) million units of OLED panels from Samsung just a little while ago!

So there is a huge market for the OLED and it will be interesting to see how this pathbreaking technology will change the game.

Before I end, I’d be doing another brand a great disservice if I don’t mention this. You just cannot say ‘OLED’, without mentioning LG Display. One of the foremost explorer of display technology in the world, the company is at present engrossed in the development of foldable display panels. It’s already wowed the world with their “rollable” OLED panels when it displayed the tech at the Consumer Electronics Show in January – this pioneer is currently working on development of foldable display panels and is in an obvious race with Samsung to hit the secret sauce first.

A spokesman at LG Display commented, “If commercialized soon, the graphene electrode technology would help the industry achieve fordable panels significantly”. So, guess whose going to be paying ETRI and Hanwha Techwin a visit?

Dear Reader: if there’s one topic you should be reading in the realm of Technology, it should be Graphene – because it’s going to take over your life one of these months. Go ahead – search for Graphene in our Search Bar – we have plenty of stuff to help you learn all about it!