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Wow, That’s An UNSMASHABLE AMOLED Display!

Ok, whoa.  Check out this video first – whoever that is in the video just put a mallet to that AMOLED display!

That’s Samsung’s AMOLED display – the one being shown there is their prototype.  It’s 2.8 inches, has a resolution of 166ppi, weighs a shade under 0.29g, and is 20 microns thin.  Holy crap, Samsung!  Apparently it’s smashproof, and you can bend it without seeing any display change.

AMOLEDs are pretty interesting – AMOLED means active matrix organic light emitting diode.  From my favorite OLED news site, OLED-INFO:

Active matrix (AM) OLED displays stack cathode, organic, and anode layers on top of another layer – or substrate – that contains circuitry. The pixels are defined by the deposition of the organic material in a continuous, discrete “dot” pattern. Each pixel is activated directly: A corresponding circuit delivers voltage to the cathode and anode materials, stimulating the middle organic layer. AM OLED pixels turn on and off more than three times faster than the speed of conventional motion picture film – making these displays ideal for fluid, full-motion video.

This type of stacking of the molecules creates something that is actually pretty impressive – a display that has a higher perceived luminance (meaning it does actually appear brighter) compared to current technology, and the viewing angle is WAY better than current gear.

Check out this video on Samsung’s Super AMOLED – it’s a GREAT explanation on the topic!

Thanks, OLED-INFO!

Salmon DNA Into LEDs

My buddy Dave Atkinson sent me an article from MIT’s Technology Review – scientists have discovered a way to use strands of DNA woven into fibers to make very bright white light by doping some DNA with fluorescent dyes and weaving it into a nanofiber of sorts.  The DNA nanofiber is then wrapped around an ultraviolet LED – the DNA material absorbs ultraviolet waves of light and fluoresces different wavelengths of light (blue, white, or orange) according to the combination of dyes doped on the DNA.  How cool is that?

The whole light emitting process is based on energy transfer.  From the way I understand it, energy is transferred between the different dyes that are doped onto the DNA.  Also, if that wasn’t complicated enough, the dyes will only exchange energy if they are the right distance apart, some distance between 2 and 10 nanometers.  When the UV LED is shone onto the DNA fiber, one of the dyes will emit blue wavelengths of light; if the two dye molecules are the correct distance apart, the other dye will then absorb some of the blue energy and emit orange wavelengths of light.

Who got that?

From the article:

By changing the ratio of the two dyes, the researchers can alter the combined color of light that the material gives off. Varying the amount of dye also lets them make finer tweaks. For example, by increasing the proportion of dye in the DNA from 1.33 percent to 10 percent, they can change the white light from cool to warm. “As you go across the white spectrum, if you want a soft yellow-type light or blue-type light, you can get these very easily with the DNA system,” Sotzing says.

Okay – this is very interesting.  I am also not a biological/chemical engineer, so my queries are only as intelligent as the things I have come to understand.  My question would be about energy loss between the three materials – I have to believe that there are some photons lost between the transfer from UV to blue and to orange, right?  Aaron Clapp, one of the scientists working on this at Iowa State University, also brings up an interesting point – he calls it “overly dramatic,” to quote the man:

“It’s really very cool [work], and I think that it has practical promise,” says Aaron Clapp, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State University. “[But] it seems like an overly dramatic way of doing it.”

Clapp speculates that instead of relying on energy transfer between the two fluorescent dyes, you could just change their ratios and get the colors you want.

However, each dye would then require a different input energy source as opposed to just one UV source, Sotzing points out. What’s more, energy transfer between two dyes gives better control over the color of the output light.

Walt says that it may be possible to use the first dye to transfer energy to multiple dyes and get an even wider range of colors. “The results reported here suggest DNA-[energy transfer] light emitters are promising,” Walt says, “but the ultimate utility will depend on factors such as lifetime and power efficiency.”

I love it when we come up with novel ways to use light. Now we’re using the delicious DNA of the salmon to make blue and orange light.  Next up:  roast beef sandwiches that light up my landscape lighting.

OLED Demo – Hey, Should I Get A Hole Punch?

GE’s research lab working with OLEDs made a short video of some interesting OLED durability “tests” for all to see.  Now every solid state device needs to come with a hole punch and some scissors so I can cut light into pieces.

<chirp, chirp>

I’ll be right back, I have to run to the joke store and return that glistening piece of crap I just laid on you.  Check out this video:

OLEDs and Their Market Saturation

If you’ve been watching the wire lately, you would have noticed a large spike in OLED production, news, and marketing.  From backlights to specialized architectural illumination, OLEDs are trying hard to find their way into the commercial market.  Analysts project that over the next ten years or so, we’ll see a very large spike in their usage and production, especially in the backlighting market.  The chart below shows some of those projected numbers:

According to a report published by NanoMarkets, OLED Lighting Markets 2008, OLED lighting markets will grow from approximately $2.8 million this year to around $6 billion in 2015.  That’s a pretty enormous jump – I hope that the market can live up to the standard to which it’s about to be held.

The second cousin of OLED, the ILED (inorganic LED) is based on a semiconductor design, whereas the OLED is attached to a sheet-type substrate.  ILEDs are most like spotlights, and OLEDs are more like washlights in that respect – manufacturing OLEDs in large format is a major engineering and manufacturing challenege to which an answer is being sought in order to get OLEDs further into the market.  ILEDs are burning the trail into the market for OLEDs, and as soon as certain issues are addressed, we’ll see OLEDs in a more standard capacity for solid state lighting.

An interesting future prediction is what’s going to happen to non-LED sources once OLEDs and ILEDs hit the market in full strength.  From the article at LEDs Magazine:

Most development activity is being targeted at the 1000-nit brightness level, generally considered to be the entry point for general-purpose lighting (an attractive opportunity for OLED lighting simply because the addressable market is so large). About 24 billion light bulbs for general illumination are sold worldwide every year.

But while the demand for lighting will increase as development proceeds in Asia, Africa and Latin America, it also seems likely that fewer bulbs, tubes and lighting arrays will be bought, simply because these lighting products are achieving longer lifetimes. As a result, NanoMarkets expects the addressable market to fall to about 10 billion units by the end of the forecast period. This represents OLED lighting sales for the general-purpose lighting market of about $1.1 m in 2008, growing to almost $2.3 bn in 2015.

I’m very interested in how this technology is going to continue to impact the industry and more specifically, design within the industry.  If you have insight on this subject as it matures, please post in the comments or contact me.