OLED Screens of Steel!

LG.Philips LCD will demonstrate a new OLED panel at SID 2007

Today, LG.Philips LCD announced that they will be demonstrating a flexible OLED display next week at the Society for Information Display Symposium next week in Long Beach, CA. (And I’ll be there, reporting on the new developments in display technology here in the HDTV Almanac.) The demonstration panel has a 4″ diagonal size, and a QVGA resolution of 320 by 240 pixels.

The panel has two interesting features. First, it uses a stainless steel substrate. This allows the panel to use metal foil and still lock out the oxygen and water vapor that destroys OLED materials. The result is a display that is reportedly less than 1/100 of an inch thick: slightly thicker than a sheet of paper.

The other feature is a bit techie; it uses an amorphous silicon backplane for the active matrix switching of the pixels. This is significant because it means that it can use the same fabrication processes used to create LCD panels. LG.Philips LCD could use their existing (and massive) LCD production lines to manufacture these panels.

The company’s press release does not discuss scalability, and they will almost certainly pursue the small, portable device screen applications first where a shorter lifetime and premium price won’t be terrible disadvantages. But a 4″ QVGA panel could mean an 8″ VGA panel with the same pixel size, and perhaps a 15″ 720p HDTV.

There’s no word on plans to commercialize these displays, but I’ll see what I can find out next week. Stay tuned!