Technology Talk



virtual reality oled

Ok, so NED isn’t yet a new acronym for cutting edge HDTV (High Definition Television) Technology. I just threw that one in to keep everyone sharp. Over the last few years, acronyms to identify new ways of bringing hi-def television signals to the masses have been spawning faster than kudzu in a North Georgia cornfield. SED, FED, and OLED are new semiconductor-based technologies that could one day form the basis of all of our High Definition television displays.

virtual reality

They could lead the way to Hi-Def displays that are large, almost paper thin, and portable. While everyone is fully cognizant of the more common terms, such as LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and Plasma; which fortunately is not an acronym, but a rather a descriptive term of the weird, futuristic, fourth state of matter science going on behind the flat panel, there continue to be new sets of letters, and the latest seem to end in “ed”. Since the attack of the “eds” is all good news for lovers of state-of-the-art technology, I will attempt to elucidate some of the important points in an easy to understand way beginning with OLED.

Surprisingly, OLED is already in use in some smaller video applications such as cell phones and digital camera displays. It could have an extremely bright future in FPD (flat panel display), but its debut into the world of widespread mass production and sales in television is still a year or two off. Samsung has released a prototype 40-inch HDTV using OLED that is extremely thin. In the future, we could see an OLED set that is twice as large and only a fraction of an inch thick! It will even be possible to roll up these extremely thin screens and carry them around!

OLED works by conducting electrons through layers of organic materials that emit light to create the standards of current high definition television. Photons (particles of light) are emitted as electrons are sent from a cathode layer across two or three layers of organic material (the “o” in oled) to the anode layer. The colors of the HDTV are determined by the type of organic material used in the emissive layer and the brightness of the picture seen by the viewer’s eye is controlled by the level of voltage used. The “O” in OLED stands for organic material, which in this case means a carbon based chain of molecules, also known as a polymer.

panasonic oled television sets

OLED promises to give us extremely wide screen, HD televisions that could be only a few millimeters thick and use very little electricity. The tiny amounts of electrical power needed to power this type of display solve the problem of hot operating temperatures in today’s LCD and Plasma sets. Newer generations of HD (High Definition) technologies are constantly being invented. There are already at least six types of OLED technology now in existence. It will be fascinating to view the subsequent forms of flat panel displays using OLED, as they begin to populate our world.

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