OLED technology enables thin, efficient and bright displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are currently used in many mobile devices, some TVs and lighting fixtures. OLED displays offer a better image quality compared to LCD or Plasma displays - and can also be made flexible and transparent.
The actual OLED materials are transparent, and indeed it's possible to fabricate transparent OLEDs (sometimes refereed to as T-OLEDs). Many OLED makers are developing transparent OLEDs, and we have seen prototypes up to 55" in size (the largest and most advanced transparent OLED prototypes have been demonstrated by Samsung and LG). Samsung did intend to start producing 55" transparent OLEDs in 2016, but later decided to stop that program.
Small (up to 2.4" in size) transparent OLED displays have been in the market for several years - but applications have been few and far between. Both Neoview Kolon and Futaba used to produce such displays (in April 2013 we posted a review of Futaba's 2" 160x128 transparent PMOLED panel - but both companies stopped producing these OLEDs and currently it is difficult to acquire non-custom transparent OLEDs.
Transparent OLED Lighting
OLED technology can be used to make lighting panels - these are thin, area-lit and efficient lighting panels, that can be made transparent. Unlike displays, transparent OLED lighting panels have more immediate applications (embedded in windows, for example). In April 2012 we posted our hands-on review with a transparent Tabola OLED lighting panel sample.
OLED-Info's Transparent OLEDs Market Report
OLED-Info offers a comprehensive Transparent OLED Market Report which gives all the information you need to understand this market and the future of transparent OLEDs. The report explains:
- Transparent OLED properties and advantages
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- What kind of transparent OLED displays are currently on the market
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The latest transparent OLED news:
In February 2019 LG Display started producing its 55" FHD transparent commercial OLED displays, and now the company says it plans to double its transparent OLED production in Q4 2019 - and continue to ramp up production years to come. LGD sees possible applications in shop windows, building façades and exhibition spaces.
PlayNitride demonstrated its latest Micro-LED displays at SID DisplayWeek 2019 - a 7.56" 720x480 (114 PPI) transparent MicroLED, a flexible Micro-LED on a polyimide substrate and a high-brightness, high-resolution passive matrix MicroLED aimed towards wearable applications.
PlayNitride aims to release its first Micro-LED display products by the end of 2019. In 2017 the company started to sample micro-LED panels and shipped samples to 10-20 potential customers.
In April 2019 Panasonic unveiled a transparent OLED TV prototype housed in a wooden cabinet. Here's a nice video showing the display in action:
Panasonic has been showing transparent OLED display prototypes and concepts since 2016. This specific prototype was designed by Scandinavian based designer Daniel Rybakken in collaboration with Panasonic Design Kyoto.
China-based display maker CSoT demonstrated several new OLED display prototypes and technologies at SID 2019, and this great new video shows these displays in action.
First up is a 31" 4K (3840 x 2160, 144 PPI) AMOLED that was produced using an ink-jet printing process on an IGZO substrate. The peak brightness is 200 nits and the refresh rate is 120 Hz. This seems to be the same panel announced in March 2018 by Joshua Printing Display Technology (established by CSoT and Tianma in 2016). The display has some noticable defects.
OLED-Info's foldable, flexible, VR/AR, transparent, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to July 2019
Today we published new versions of our market reports - that cover the flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, automotive, PMOLED and graphene OLED markets. OLED-Info provides comprehensive niche OLED market reports, and our reports cover everything you need to know about the niche market, and can be useful if you want to understand how the OLED industry works and what this technology can provide for your own industry. The reports are now updated to July 2019.
- Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
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- All about the foldable OLED market and industry
- What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
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The report package provides a good introduction to the flexible and foldable OLED market - present and future. It details both flexible displays and lighting technologies. Read more here!
In November 2015 Planar launched its LookThru displays, based on 55" FHD transparent OLED panels made by Samsung Display. SDC stopped producing these OLEDs shortly after, though, and Planar had to halt its sales.
In February 2019 LG Display launched its own 55" FHD transparent OLED production, and now Planar announced its 2nd-Gen LookThru (LO552) displays - which are likely based on LGD's panels this time.
Wisechip recently started shipping a new dot-matrix transparent PMOLED (1.51" 128x56, light-blue) and the display is now available on the OLED Marketplace. It's been many years since a standard dot-matrix transparent OLED was available, so this is great news.
In February 2019, at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) tradeshow, LG Electronics launched its 55" transparent touch-enabled OLED displays. The displays are not available commercially yet, but LG seems to be advancing and we now know the first such display model number - the 55EW5F.
We still do not have the specification of LG's first transparent OLED signage, but the company latest prototype shown at CES 2019 featured a transparency of 40% - so we can assume that these new commercial displays feature the same transparency. It is also likely that they are touch enabled (that's what been shown in previous trade shows).
Panasonic has been showing transparent OLED display prototypes and concepts since 2016 (with the latest one shown last year in Shanghai) and today the Japanese TV maker has demonstrated a new transparent concept OLED display.
The new display, designed by Scandinavian based designer Daniel Rybakken in collaboration with Panasonic Design Kyoto uses a transparent OLED panel housed in a wooden cabinet that looks like a regular glass cabinet.
Tianma demonstrated new display technologies at Embedded World in Germany, including two new OLED prototypes. First up is a 10.3" 91 PPI transparent AMOLED panel that features a transparency of up to 50% and high brightness (not disclosed).
The second display is a 4.92" 403 PPI AMOLED that was produced using an ink-jet printing process. Tianma's technology was jointly developed with Guangdong Juhua Printing and Display Technology (which was established in 2016 by CSoT and TianMa).