Are OLED’s the same as LED’s

As the term OLED is now becoming known within the general population a question about them is often being asked now “Are OLED’s the same as LED’s”, so lets take a look at what the difference is between the two.

OLED and LED may only have one letter difference to their abbreviated name state but they are in fact two different technologies and the difference is in fact in the name. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes and LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes, The organic part refers to the fact that OLED’s have the presence of organic carbon-based molecules in the emissive light-emitting layer, unlike LED’s where they use an inorganic semiconductor.

The organic layer in a single pixel of OLED is layered between two conductors, an anode and the cathode. Usually both of these conductors are transparent and when the electricity is applied the organic layer will emit light.

OLED is being hyped as the next generation of the digital screens we use (laptops, tablets, televisions etc) and as the next few years start to roll by OLED screens will become more prominent in this space. OLED’s have advantages over LCD and Plasma screens such as they don’t have to be as thick as they do not need a backlight as the chips create their own light. OLED also offers greater improved viewing angle and a much better image quality as the light output is managed by each individual pixel, allowing for extremely localized dimming and greater colour accuracy.

The other feature OLED’s have is that due to their size you are able to make flexible panels, meaning you can wrap a screen around a pillar or even roll the screen up making it much easier to transport, or even imagine a touch screen phone or tablet that you could fold up into your pocket. As OLED doesn’t require any back lighting it means they don’t require as much energy to use them meaning they are more environmentally friendly and if used in mobile technology a longer battery life.

OLED is a new technology and still in its infancy which means it is still very expensive to manufacture, but as with all technology this will come down in price. The other disadvantage they have is that they have a fairly limited light output.