Does this new OLED technology brighten up TVs and smartphones?
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Does this new OLED technology brighten up TVs and smartphones?

Luca Fontana
Zurich, on 09.07.2019
Pictures: David Lee
Translation: Eva Francis
OLED screens are superior to LCD-based screens. But they have one disadvantage: low brightness. This is mostly due to anti-reflection filters that absorb light. As it seems, researchers from England have now succeeded in solving this problem.

OLED screens are considered the best screens for televisions and smartphones. Why? They’re based on a technology with light emitting diodes – LEDs – which don’t only determine their own colour, but also generate their own light.

Reflective filters are used to prevent reflections on your TV or smartphone screen. But these filters come with a disadvantage: they absorb almost half the light-emitted by OLEDs. For this reason, the light-emitting diodes must shine particularly brightly to allow enough light to pass through the reflective filters.

Low maximum brightness: the weakness of OLED screens
Low maximum brightness: the weakness of OLED screens

Now researchers are said to have found a way to solve this efficiency problem. The big advantages: better contrast, longer battery life and less burn-in.

Organic LEDs and their chemical composition

How do OLEDs work? OLEDs are composed of thin films of organic molecules that create light with the application of electricity. Matching colour molecules then provide the colours. «O» in OLED stands for «organic», which means carbon-containing in chemistry.

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It is precisely this chemical composition that researchers at Imperial College in London claim to have changed. At least, that’s what Phys.org reports and claims that the team around Dr. Jess Wade has developed a new type of OLED that is able to bypass the reflective filters without any losses by emitting polarised light.

Why polarised light?

With polarised light, there is no light loss and therefore improved maximum brightness. With simultaneous True Black, this results in even better contrasts and more intense colours than before.

At the same time, less loss of light also means reduced strength of light output. This is why the new OLEDs require much less energy. With a smartphone, for instance, this would result in a significantly longer battery life. Because the lifespan of such displays is doubled at the same time, the risk of burn-in is also reduced.

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And there’s more good news: According to the researchers, as Phys.org reports, this technology can be used for other purposes, too: polarised light is said to be suitable for storing, transmitting and encrypting data.

However, the most important question remains unanswered in the studies published in the scientific magazine ACS Nano. This is when the new OLED technology will be built into new OLED televisions and smartphones. I asked them but haven’t received an answer yet.

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Luca Fontana
Luca Fontana
Editor, Zurich
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»

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