A breakthrough in the production of OLED materials can lead to cheaper phones, TVs and monitors

In short: Researchers at Busan National University in South Korea are one step closer to creating economically viable solution-treated organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that don’t skimp on durability and efficiency. In other words, much more affordable devices with OLED displays such as smartphones, TVs and monitors are just around the corner.

How researchers explain, the current production of OLED is costly and labor intensive. Solution-treated OLEDs promise to be more affordable, but so far they have been limited by efficiency and durability issues due to manufacturing difficulties.

To circumvent this problem, the researchers synthesized and characterized a crosslinkable hole injection layer (HIL) material with a solvent resistance of more than 99% and fabricated a solution-treated red phosphorescent OLED device using it.

The team said the new HIL material has optimal energy levels as well as high mobility and excellent film-forming properties that are critical to commercial viability. In fact, according to Professor Do-Hun Hwan of Busan National University, this material has better performance and longer life than the most widely used HIL material.

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OLEDs have been around for decades, with the first practical device dating back to Eastman Kodak in 1987. Many years remained before mass sales, and only in 2007 did the first OLED TV appear on the market in the form of Sony XEL-1.

The Sony display is only 11 inches diagonal and has a resolution of 960 x 540, which means it technically can’t even qualify as an HDTV. It debuted at a MSRP of $2,499 and was more of a technology showcase than something you would actually buy for everyday use.

It’s only recently that OLED devices have started to gain more mainstream adoption as prices have dropped from the stratosphere. OLEDs generally provide much better image quality compared to LEDs. They also tend to be more energy efficient and weigh less than their LED counterparts and have better response times.

Study paper on this subject was recently published in the Chemical Engineering Journal.

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