Universal Display Corporation (UDC) is a developer and manufacturer of organic light emitting diodes (OLED) technologies and materials as well as provider of services to the display and lighting industries. It is also an OLED research company. Founded in 1994, the company currently owns or has exclusive, co-exclusive or sole license rights with respect to more than 3,000 issued and pending patents worldwide for the commercialization of phosphorescent based OLEDs and also flexible, transparent and stacked OLEDs - for both display and lighting applications. Its phosphorescent OLED technologies and materials are licensed and supplied to companies such as Samsung, LG, AU Optronics CMEL, Pioneer, Panasonic Idemitsu OLED lighting and Konica Minolta.
UDC is working with many other companies, including Sony, DuPont and Novaled. Back in 2009 UDC claimed that "virtually all AMOLEDs on the market use our technology". Based in Ewing, New Jersey, with international offices in Ireland, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, Universal Display works with a network of organizations, including Princeton University, the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan, and PPG Industries.
The different manufacturing process of OLEDs lends itself to several advantages over flat panel displays made with LCD technology.
Some disadvantages include:
According to OLED Display "Samsung Display uses different Sub Pixel Matrix technologies for their smartphone Super-Amoled Displays. For the Galaxy S4 and S5 they use the Diamond Pixel Matrix."
Universal Display's OLED screens currently feature in Samsung's Galaxy S, S II and S III, S IV and S V smartphones. The Galaxy S3 sold 10 million units in the first three months after its launch in April 2012. Also, their Galaxy Note has sold 10 million units since launch.
Samsung's new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, sports a 4.99" Full-HD (1920x1080, 441 PPI) Super AMOLED display behind a Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Universal Display reported that Samsung Display Corporation (SDC) adopted UDC's green PHOLED (host and emitter) in the 5" Full-HD Super AMOLED display used in the GS4 smartphone. This is a significant development as the green PHOLED increases energy efficiency of displays by up to 25%
Nokia's new Lumia 1020 smartphone and BlackBerry's Q10 and Z30 models are the most recent phones to sport OLED screens.
In October 2013, Samsung released the first ever curved display smartphone called the Galaxy-Round. Samsung also introduced the "Roll Effect" where when the phone's screen is off and is rolled, it displays basic information like time or battery percentage. While it is possible to curve LCD screens, analysts say OLED screens provide better technical benefits.
The Galaxy S5, launched in Feb 2014, has a 5inch Super AMOLED screen. The unique feature is the GS5 also has a new software feature - when the battery is low (10%), it switches to an ultra power-saving mode which changes the screen to monochrome, lowers the brightness and closes all "non essential" features. In this low-power mode, the GS5 can last up to 24 hours in standby on that 10% battery.
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Round smartphone in the Korean market in October 2013. The device features a 1080p screen, measuring 5.7 inches (14 cm), that curves on the vertical axis in a rounded case. The corporation has promoted the following advantages: A new feature called "Round Interaction" that allows users to look at information by tilting the handset on a flat surface with the screen off, and the feel of one continuous transition when the user switches between home screens.
In September 2013 Samsung unveiled their Galaxy Gear Smartwatch having an 1.6 inch OLED screen and multiple apps to link the watch to an Android (operating system) smartphone. It will go on sale in the US for $299 and features a 1.63" 320x320 (275 PPI) Super AMOLED display, a 1.9 mp camera (can do 720p videos), 800Mhz processor, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, Bluetooth 4, and a 315 mAh non-removable battery.
The LG G Watch R is smartwatch featuring a circular face and an OLED screen.
LG has released a second premium smart watch called the "Urbane" which retails for $590.
OLED displays are expected to dominate the smart watch market with 58% market share.
"Phablets" are defined as a device that has a screen between 5 and 7 inches and is part phone-part tablet. Examples include the Galaxy Note I, II and III. Samsung unveiled their Galaxy Note 3 at the IFA electronics show in September 2013. The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7 inch AMOLED screen. Display Mate tested the screen on the Galaxy Note 3 and say it is the best OLED screen they have tested and is superior to all LCD screens they have tested. They were quoted as saying: "The most notable advancement in this new panel is the high brightness. It can achieve 660 cd/m2 in high ambient light. It's not just 55% brighter than the Note 2, it's actually the brightest display ever tested at DisplayMate. A very notable achievement for Samsung's OLEDs, which were lagging behind LCDs in brightness."
Cnet also reviewed the Galaxy Note 3 and had this to say about the AMOLED screen:
"Trust me when I say that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's screen is simply gorgeous. Measuring a vast 5.7 inches across, the AMOLED display has an ultracrisp full HD resolution (1,920x1,080 pixels) which translates into an amazingly sharp 385ppi. That's a level of detail that puts the smaller screens of the iPhone 5S (4-inch, 326ppi) and Samsung's own Galaxy S4 (5-inch, 441ppi) to shame."
On September 3, 2014 at IFA Berlin, Samsung unveiled a successor to the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 4. The new model introduced a new design with a plastic leather backing and metal frame, a 5.7-inch (145 mm) QHD display, a 16MP camera with OIS, improved S-Pen, an upgraded digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and expanded functionality, fingerprint scanner, and other features taken from the Galaxy S5.
Panasonic have showcased a 20-inch OLED screened tablet with a resolution of 4K or (3840×2160 Pixels)
Samsung have released two Galaxy Tablets using OLED technology. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is released with Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. Samsung has customized the interface with its TouchWiz Nature UX 3.0 software. As well as the standard suite of Google apps, it has Samsung apps such as ChatON, S Suggest, S Voice, S Translator, S Planner, WatchON, Smart Stay, Multi-Window, Group Play, All Share Play, Samsung Magazine, Professional pack, Multi-user mode, SideSync 3.0, and Gear/Gear Fit manager.
The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is available in WiFi-only and 4G/LTE & WiFi variants. Storage ranges from 16 GB to 32 GB depending on the model, with a microSDXC card slot for expansion up to 128 GB. It has a 10.5-inch WQXGA Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2560x1600 pixels and a pixel density of 287 ppi.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is released with Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. Samsung has customized the interface with its TouchWiz Nature UX 3.0 software. As well as the standard suite of Google apps, it has Samsung apps such as ChatON, S Suggest, S Voice, S Translator, S Planner, WatchON, Smart Stay, Multi-Window, Group Play, All Share Play, Samsung Magazine, Professional pack, Multi-user mode, SideSync 3.0, and Gear/Gear fit manager.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is available in WiFi-only and 4G/LTE & WiFi variants. Storage ranges from 16 GB to 32 GB depending on the model, with a microSDXC card slot for expansion up to 128 GB. It has an 8.4-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2560x1600 pixels and a pixel density of 359 ppi. It also features a 2.1 MP front camera without flash and a rear-facing 8.0 MP AF camera with LED flash. It also has the ability to record HD videos.
Consumer Reports says that OLED is the best display technology, as it combines the best features of plasmas and LCDs. They say that the emerging technology is "really going to shake up the television industry".
Samsung and LG-Display showed 55-inch OLED-Television devices at CES-2012. But both companies had to delay their mass production. Also AUO, Sony and Epson will start AMOLED-TV production in 2014.
In June 2013 Samsung announced the Korean availability of a 55-inch curved OLED HDTV. Priced at 15 million Korean won (around $13,500). Samsung also reiterates the claim LG made when it launched its own curved OLED model that "keeping all parts of the screen an equal distance from the viewer makes for a better viewing experience." By August 2013, Samsung dropped the price of the OLED television by 30% claiming "better yields" in manufacturing.
In September 2013 at the IFA electronics show, Samsung unveiled their 98-inch 4K AMOLED television.
LG showcased an Ultra High Definition (UHD) curved 77inch screen at the IFA electronics show. This is a 4K WRGB OLEd screen. In October 2014, LG reported that their Television sales has jumped 20x in volume shipments since 2013.
CNET reviewed the LG 55EC9300 OLED Television in September 2014 and called it "The best. Picture. Ever." Combining the best qualities of LED and Plasma without the disadvantages.
With the arrival of Quantum Dot LCD displays, LG released an article describing why they still see OLED as the future of Television displays: "In fact, OLED technology is the technology that is so much advanced that it should not be compared to an LCD based QD. Hence, even though LG already has the technology to create QD backlighting, it is focusing on developing OLED". LG expects OLED TVs to be price competitive with LCDs within one or two years.
Consumer Reports, an American Magazine covering reviews of consumer products, published their review of OLED televisions saying that their TV project leader, Claudio Ciacci, would pick LG's OLED TV over every other TV model tested in 2014. "It has all the advantages of both LCD and Plasma Televisions without any of the weakness."
In January 2015, LG Display signed a long term agreement with UDC for the supply of OLED materials and the right to use their patented OLED emitters. LG is the leader in the push for OLED Televisions.
In 2017 LG revealed five new models of OLED TV's, the flagship model being as thin as 0.9mm.
The Korea Times claims that Google's next gen Google Glass HMD (or "wearable computer") will use OLED microdisplays made by Samsung Display, with licensed technology from Universal Display.
Sony have announced the 3rd generation of their Heads Up Micro-Displays (HMD) using OLED panels from UDC.
OLEDs enable screens to be made in curved or flexible format. Samsung's flexible AMOLEDs will be fabricated on a plastic (Polyimide) substrate and will be able to withstand high temperature (up to 350-400 degrees). The displays can be bendable - but since the first products will use them inside rigid glass cases - so it'll actually be "curved" displays and not flexible ones. A plastic based AMOLED will be shatterproof, and will also be lighter and thinner compared to glass based OLEDs.
OLED Info reports that for flexible displays on plastic, UDC's UniversalBarrier single-layer encapsulation technology is being evaluated by Samsung. UDC has a working 6" R&D deposition machine for the encapsulation layer. They go on to describe how Corning Glass have developed a flexible glass to help speed up the adoption of bendable OLED screens. "On Aug. 28 2013, Corning and AU Optronics announced that Corning is an important and strategic highperformance display glass collaborator for AUO’s line of AMOLED panels. AUO selected the Corning Lotus Glass platform based on the glass substrate’s outstanding thermal and dimensional stability. This aids AUO with efficient manufacturing during the high-temperature processes that are required to develop its AMOLED panels." Corning is also developing a Roll to Roll manufacturing process that will greatly reduce costs of mass-producing flexible displays.
UBI Research published a new report on flexible OLED displays, forecasting a very fast growth: from 20 million units in 2012 to 150 million units in 2013. UBI sees $6.3 billion in flexible OLED revenues in 2017. This is far more optimistic than the recent report by Markets&Markets who see the entire flexible display market at $3.2 billion in 2017.
The Flexible Display Center announced that it has successfully manufactured the world’s largest flexible color AMOLED prototype using advanced mixed oxide thin film transistors (TFTs). Measuring 7.4 diagonal inches, the device was developed at the FDC in conjunction with Army Research Labs scientists. It also meets a critical target set by the U.S. Department of Defense to advance the development of full-color, full-motion video flexible OLED displays for use in thin, lightweight, bendable and highly rugged devices. "This is a significant manufacturing breakthrough for flexible display technology," said Nick Colaneri, director of the FDC. "It provides a realistic path forward for the production of high performance, flexible, full color OLED displays, accelerating commercialization of the technology in the process."
Universal Display's Sid Rosenblatt talking about the future of OLED technology was quoted as saying: "Samsung is going to introduce flexible screens, but the flexible plastic substrates are difficult to manufacture. Plastic is porous and oxygen with moisture causes OLEDs to degrade. [However]...These kind of displays are unbreakable, flexible on stainless steel foil. It would result in a thinner device because you don’t have the pieces of glass. It could conform around the sides, so you can show information on the sides. It would be lighter. So you can either make it smaller or thinner or you can make a larger battery so that it lasts longer. The challenges are encapsulation, so you need an encapsulation process. The temperature is too high to deposit them directly to the plastic, so they do is they literally deposit them on glass." Further SID Rosenblatt thinks that flexible OLEDs will be initially a niche market for the high end.
iSuppli, a market research firm, sees the flexible OLED display market growing significantly from 2013 to 2020. Their estimates are from a market value of $21 million in 2013 to $100 million in 2014 and reaching $12 billion by 2020. IHS says this will bring about "unprecedented change(s) in flat displays". Both LG and Samsung believe that flexible displays will make up as much as 40% of the Smartphone maker by 2018.
At the Flextech Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Plastic Logic and Novaled demonstrated a new, really bendable, and completely organic AMOLED display. OLED News said: "This is a very important technological advance. For the first time we have an entirely plastic AMOLED with backplane electronics manufactured in a special low temperature process. The industrial techniques applied open up real prospects of mass producing these displays at a very competitive unit cost." Plastic Logic CEO, Indro Mukerjee, spoke of 2014 as the year when wearable technology is going to really take off. He described the advance that has been made in the following: "Flexible electronics is a reality, already proven through the development and manufacture of plastic, bendable displays and sensors. For the first time a fully organic, plastic, flexible AMOLED demonstration has been achieved with a real industrial fabrication process. This marks the start of a revolution in wearable products, the next frontier in consumer."
Apple began using OLED panels in its watches in 2015 and in its laptops in 2016 with the introduction of an OLED touchbar to the MacBook Pro. In 2017, Apple announced the introduction of their tenth anniversary iPhone X with their own optimized OLED display licensed from Universal Display Corporation.
OLED's have distinct advantages in lighting too, providing low temperature, low energy use lighting panels that can be used anywhere, even in cars. OSRAM believes that the next technological development for car lighting is OLEDs. The major advantage is that they provide "completely new options for the design of light and luminaires". The cars of the future, according to Osram will have both LED and OLED lighting sources. OSRAM in 2011, built an OLED Lighting production line in Regensburg, Germany. The company invested 50 million euros (around $70 million) in the production facility and in research on OLED applications.
The German government launched a new €34 million (about $44 million) project called OLYMP ("Organic Light-emitting sYstems based on energy and cost-efficient Materials and Processes") that intends to improve "OLED lighting efficiency and lifetime".
Philips have said in 2014 OLED's will be ready to enter the lighting market in a more significant way. Dietmar Thomas, Philips' OLED communication and brand manager says: "Philips' OLED performance increased dramatically in the past 2-3 years. Their most advanced panel (the GL350 Gen-2) offers 200 lumens and 45 lm/W. In mid 2014, Philips expects to release a panel (the GL350 Gen-3?) that will be brighter (300 lumens) and more efficient (60 lm/W). "
According to OLED-Display.net "OLED technology has been found useful in creating new forms of lighting. Because of the potential inherent with OLED technology in terms of its flexibility, transparency and thickness, a myriad of new possibilities exist for OLED illumination, lighting and light display shows. The potential is almost infinite, because OLED technology has proven to show lifetimes over 50,000 hours and because it burns at rates that surpass the efficiency of halogen and can reach up to 150 lm/W. In addition, OLED lighting utilizes less CO2, requires less energy and contains no toxic substances. This opens up a revolutionary concept of lighting displays and light based art conceptions."
"OLED technology is at a premium relative to LED, but there are superior lighting quality benefits," said Jeannine Fisher Wang, director of business development and marketing for Acuity's OLED group. "The overall design and construction of these luminaires is very high quality, reflective of the superior nature of the OLED light source." OLED will become mainstream, predicts Darice Liu, a spokeswoman for UDC. "We believe that OLED lighting has the potential to dominate many of the residential and commercial market applications,"
in 2012, UDC reported two favorable patent decisions. The first one is from Japan, regarding two patents (JP781 and JP158) relating to UDC's L2MX technology. The patents were upheld as valid by the Japanese patent office. The second decision related to one of the OVJP patents in Korea. The Korean patent office issued a favorable decision which upheld the patent as valid. Some financial analysts have contended that Universal Display's patents are likely to be rescinded in November 2013 at the EPO Board of Appeal. However, Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uekwitz already chimed in to defend them, saying Asensio's latest article "contains nothing new or valuable" that wasn't already disclosed in its most recent quarterly report.