Innovations illuminate the global organic light-emitting diode market

Paul Boughton

The new display technology of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) is gradually taking the lead over competing lighting and display technologies, including liquid crystal displays (LCDs). The market's emerging dominance furthers with innovate technologies like active matrix OLED (AMOLED).

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analyzing Global Opportunities in the OLED Market, finds that the market earned revenues of over $1.69 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $7.39 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 per cent.

OLEDs take an advantage over LCDs by having thinner, lightweight and printable displays. As a matter of fact, OLEDs are five times thinner than conventional LCDs because they are self-emissive/luminous and do not require additional backlighting. This feature results in lower power consumption, reduced costs and higher space savings than LCDs. Emissive displays also offer high contrast and a wide viewing angle (close to 180 degrees), which translates to high resolution and readability in various lighting conditions.[Page Break]

"New end-user applications, including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), car audio systems, digital cameras and watches, are projected to drive market growth," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nupur Sinha. "Lower production costs and higher performance will enable more applications, such as pagers, games, toys, point-of-sale systems, large-display TVs and notebook computers."

Despite OLED companies' technological advances, they still must address end-user concerns regarding short life, high costs, manufacturing complexity, efficacy and luminance. Organic matter used in the display is sensitive to oxygen and moisture, which could destroy OLED displays if the screen is left unprotected. Further, manufacturers must continue to innovate harder before a full-color OLED display can be produced in quantity, at maximum cost efficiency.

Although OLEDs offer performance benefits, their pricing is higher than established, competing technologies such as LCDs and plasma displays. The OLED market is in its early growth stage, and prices are likely to stabilize only after commercialization. Additionally, small-volume manufacturers are against price drops because they are yet to achieve economy of scale.[Page Break]

"OLED manufacturers should focus on energy-efficiency and better resolutions, along with longer OLED lifecycles, for a noteworthy market presence," said Sinha. "Over time, OLEDs are expected to have a huge impact on the overall electronics industry."

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