Stanford researchers and collaborators in Korea have developed a new architecture for OLED – organic light-emitting diode – displays that could enable televisions, smartphones and virtual or augmented reality devices with resolutions of up to 10,000 pixels per inch (PPI). Resolutions of new smartphones are around 400 to 500 PPI. This technology was adapted from existing designs for electrodes of ultra-thin solar panels.
These displays will be able to provide stunning images with true-to-life detail for Virtual Reality.
The new “metaphotonic” OLED displays would also be brighter and have better color accuracy than existing versions, and they’d be much easier and cost-effective to produce as well.
This research aims to offer an alternative to the two types of OLED displays that are currently commercially available. One type – called a red-green-blue OLED – has individual sub-pixels that each contain only one color of emitter. These OLEDs are fabricated by spraying each layer of materials through a fine metal mesh to control the composition of each pixel. They can only be produced on a small scale, however, like what would be used for a smartphone.
Larger devices like TVs employ white OLED displays. Each of these sub-pixels contains a stack of all three emitters and then relies on filters to determine the final sub-pixel color, which is simpler to fabricate. Since the filters reduce the overall output of light, white OLED displays are more power-hungry and prone to having images burn into the screen.
The crucial innovation behind both the solar panel and the new OLED is a base layer of reflective metal with nanoscale (smaller than microscopic) corrugations, called an optical metasurface. The metasurface can manipulate the reflective properties of light and thereby allow the different colors to resonate in the pixels. These resonances are key to facilitating effective light extraction from the OLEDs.
In lab tests, the researchers successfully produced miniature proof-of-concept pixels. Compared with color-filtered white-OLEDs (which are used in OLED televisions) these pixels had a higher color purity and a twofold increase in luminescence efficiency – a measure of how bright the screen is compared to how much energy it uses. They also allow for an ultrahigh pixel density of 10,000 pixels-per-inch.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) have found wide application in high-resolution, large-area televisions and the handheld displays of smartphones and tablets. With the screen located some distance from the eye, the typical number of pixels per inch is in the region of hundreds. For near-eye microdisplays—for example, in virtual and augmented reality applications—the required pixel density runs to several thousand pixels per inch and cannot be met by present display technologies. Joo et al. developed a full-color, high-brightness OLED design based on an engineered metasurface as a tunable back-reflector. An ultrahigh density of 10,000 pixels per inch readily meets the requirements for the next-generation microdisplays that can be fabricated on glasses or contact lenses.
Optical metasurfaces are starting to find their way into integrated devices, where they can enhance and control the emission, modulation, dynamic shaping, and detection of light waves. In this study, we show that the architecture of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays can be completely reenvisioned through the introduction of nanopatterned metasurface mirrors. In the resulting meta-OLED displays, different metasurface patterns define red, green, and blue pixels and ensure optimized extraction of these colors from organic, white light emitters. This new architecture facilitates the creation of devices at the ultrahigh pixel densities (over 10,000 pixels per inch) required in emerging display applications (for instance, augmented reality) that use scalable nanoimprint lithography. The fabricated pixels also offer twice the luminescence efficiency and superior color purity relative to standard color-filtered white OLEDs.
SOURCES- Stanford, Science
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com