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OLED Displays: Everything You Need to Know

by Troy Whittle
Published: Last Updated on 62 views

learn about OLED display technology

find out if an OLED display is the right choice for you

OLED displays take a unique approach to display technology that makes them slimmer and lighter than their LCD counterparts. OLED technology has become more common in recent years and is now a widely available display option for many applications – so why should you use it? In this post we’ll break down how OLED technology works, how it can improve your next project, and how it’s already changing the face of display technology.

enhancing image quality with organic materials

learn how OLED's unique organic properties produce better graphics and images

OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, refers to the organic matter that produces images on screen. Electric currents are sent through the organic materials to activate and illuminate each individual pixel to create a rich and dynamic viewing experience. Nearly every aspect of the images on screen are improved by this unique technology. 

Diagram explaining the structure of an OLED display

For example, OLEDs offer greater contrast levels and wider viewing angles than LCD displays. Keep reading to see what else OLEDs have to offer. 

higher contrast, best picture quality

Get rich colors, true blacks, and sharp contrast with OLED displays

Because every pixel can operate individually, inactive pixels are able to shut off completely while active ones are still running, rendering an absolute black where active pixels are not required.

This drastically improves the contrast ratio of OLED images in comparison to LCD, where black pixels remain illuminated with a constant backlight.

Graphic OLEDs provide high contrast images with full colors and high resolutions, making them ideal for applications in control interfaces, medical equipment, and industrial machinery.

self-illuminating graphics & images

Bright OLED displays without a backlight

OLED’s ability to self-illuminate each pixel while shutting off inactive ones gives the displays unparalleled picture quality and nearly unlimited viewing angles. The self-illuminating properties mean that OLEDs have no need for a backlight, giving them a much thinner and lighter design. Since LED backlights are often the first component of LCDs to malfunction due to water or humidity damage, the self-illuminating properties of OLEDs make them more robust than LCDs in some situations.

These slim, highly visible displays are ideal for delivering easily readable messaging with high contrast. OLED displays are quickly becoming the industry standard for handheld and wearable devices.

Smart, adaptive power consumption

save energy with OLED technology

By dynamically managing inactive pixels, OLEDs only use power on the individual pixels that are active at any given moment. This adaptive technology can lead to greatly reduced power consumption in your display, while other display types will consume the same amount of energy regardless of what’s being displayed on screen.

before you buy an OLED display

cautions and considerations when using OLED displays

OLED displays have a lot to offer if you’re looking for slim, high contrast display. However, you may want to consider these aspects of OLED technology when designing your application:

Product Lifespan​

Because the organic materials in OLEDs degrade over time, these displays have roughly half the lifespan of LCDs. The organic material is also prone to image burn-in if static images are left on the screen for long periods of time.

Water Damage​

Even though they don’t have an LED backlight, OLEDs are still susceptible to damage from water, moisture, and humidity. Take extra care when designing an application with an OLED display if it’s being used in an outdoor or rugged environment . Be sure to design an effective seal to keep water from coming in contact with the organic materials inside your OLED.

Sunlight Readability​

The lack of a backlight makes OLEDs much slimmer and lighter than their LCD counterparts, but it also means they cannot achieve the same level of brightness. In dark or indoor settings, this isn’t a problem. But in direct sunlight or conditions with high ambient lighting, OLED may not be as visible as LCDs.

conclusion

is an OLED display the right choice for your next project?

OLED technology is changing the display landscape by offering adaptive, self-illuminating images with a significantly thinner and lighter design. They’re commonly found today as digital displays in applications ranging from smartphones, televisions and video monitors to tablets, medical devices, and automotive gauges. Their unique organic materials allow them to be more flexible, leading to some of the most exciting and innovating designs in display technology.

Watch: Full Color OLED Display Overview

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