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When Was OLED Discovered?

Discover the Origins of OLED: A Brief Look Back in Time

When Was OLED Discovered?

When Was OLED Invented?

The development of OLED technology can be traced back to the early stages of the 1950s, when scientists began their experiments on organic materials that could emit light. From its initial development to its current high-tech commercial applications, OLED has come a long way.

The Origins of OLED Technology

The idea behind OLED technology started with the discovery of electroluminescence in organic materials such as anthracene by the Russian scientist, V. I. Vexler in the year 1936. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that scientists started making significant headway into applying electroluminescence to a practical light-emitting device.

It was during this era that researchers discovered that many types of organic materials could emit light when subjected to an electrical charge. The organic materials used in OLEDs include small-molecules and polymers, and it was discovered that OLEDs had the capability of emitting light due to the electroluminescent property present in these materials.

Initial Development of OLEDs

The first practical OLED device was created in the late 1980s by two scientists at Kodak, Ching W. Tang and Steven Van Slyke. They developed a small, simple OLED with a single layer of organic material sandwiched between two electrodes.

These two scientists first introduced the concept of multilayer OLEDs and proposed various techniques to enhance the efficiency of devices. They created appliances such as digital cameras and cell phones that employed OLED designs for their displays. Their groundbreaking invention marked the first time in history that OLEDs had become commercially viable.

Commercialization of OLEDs

The first OLED products, small displays for digital cameras and cell phones, were introduced in the late 1990s by companies such as Kodak and Pioneer. In the early 2000s, Samsung and LG started ramping up production of OLED TVs and displays for smartphones, leading to wider adoption of the technology.

OLED displays have become increasingly popular over the years and offer various advantages over other display technologies such as LCD and LED. They offer a more visually stunning experience with their deeper blacks, brighter whites, and greater contrast ratio compared to traditional displays, making them an ideal choice for high-end displays used in televisions, smartwatches, and smartphones.

With the continued advancement and steady growth of the electronics industry, there is no denying that OLED technology will continue to improve and be a major part of our daily lives.

When Was OLED Invented?

Organic Light Emitting Diode or OLED technology has been around since the late 1980s, particularly in research and development. However, commercial production and widespread adoption of OLED displays didn't happen until the early 2000s.

The groundwork for OLED technology was laid in the 1950s when scientists first discovered the electroluminescence effect in organic materials. It wasn't until the late 1980s when researchers at Eastman Kodak Company, led by Dr. Ching Tang, produced the first working OLED device that emitted light through an organic thin film. This discovery laid the foundation for modern-day OLED technology that we see today.

In 1987, Tang and his team filed a patent for OLED displays that could be used for manufacturing flat-panel displays. A few years later, Kodak showcased a full-color, active-matrix OLED display at a trade show in 1989. The display size was just small, with a diameter of 25mm, but it was a breakthrough that opened doors for further research and development in OLED technology.

However, it wasn't until the 2000s that OLED technology saw significant progress. In 2003, Samsung showcased the world's first mass-produced OLED display in a mobile phone. A year later, Kodak and Sanyo jointly announced the production of OLED displays for digital cameras. This marked the beginning of a new era in display technology, where OLED began to replace traditional liquid crystal displays (LCD) in various consumer electronic products.

Advantages of OLED Technology

Richer Colors and Better Contrast

OLED displays offer deeper blacks and brighter whites, resulting in greater contrast and more vibrant, true-to-life colors. Unlike LCD displays, where black pixels are created by blocking the backlight, OLED pixels are self-illuminating, resulting in pure black colors. This feature makes OLED displays ideal for watching movies, playing games, and viewing photos, where color accuracy and contrast are crucial.

Flexible and Thin Form Factor

OLED materials can be deposited on flexible substrates, allowing for curved and even bendable screens that can be made thinner than traditional LCD displays. This flexibility in form factor allows product designers to create innovative and unique designs that wouldn't be possible with rigid LCD displays. OLED displays can be found in a wide variety of consumer electronic products, including smartphones, tablets, televisions, and even wearable devices like smartwatches.

Power Efficiency

Since OLEDs emit light directly, they don't require a backlight like LCD displays do, resulting in lower power consumption and longer battery life in devices such as smartphones and smartwatches. In OLED displays, only the pixels that are required to display information are illuminated, resulting in energy savings. Additionally, OLED displays have faster response times, enabling smoother videos and animations while conserving battery life.

In conclusion, OLED technology has come a long way since its inception, and it has transformed the display industry by offering numerous advantages such as richer colors and better contrast, flexibility in form factor, and power efficiency. As OLED displays continue to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative designs and applications in the future.

Applications of OLED Technology

Consumer Electronics

When it comes to consumer electronics, OLED displays have been a game changer. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) is a type of display technology that uses organic materials to produce light. Its thin and flexible design makes it a favored display technology for use in today's modern devices, such as smartphones, smartwatches, TVs, and laptops. Consumers prefer OLED displays for their deep blacks, vibrant colors, and superior contrast ratios. Compared to other display technologies, OLEDs are energy efficient, faster at displaying images, and have better viewing angles.


The automotive industry has also started utilizing OLED technology in both vehicle interiors and exteriors. OLED displays are ideal for automotive applications because of their high visibility and brightness, making them perfect for use in dashboards and heads-up displays (HUD). Besides, OLED lighting systems are used to create customizable and innovative lighting designs for vehicle taillights and headlights. These lighting systems provide improved energy efficiency and contribute towards a reduction in the vehicle's overall weight. As OLED technology continues to develop, automotive manufacturers will find more ways to incorporate it into their designs.


OLED technology is not limited to displays, but also extends to lighting. By using OLED lighting panels, designers can create unique shapes and colors, allowing for the ultimate in creative flexibility. One of the most significant advantages of OLED lighting is that it has low heat output and uses less energy compared to traditional light bulbs. OLEDs create light using organic materials, which enables them to emit light over a broad area. With their flexibility and versatility, OLED lighting systems are perfect for use in museums, art galleries, and commercial buildings where precise and even lighting is critical.

In summary, OLED technology has revolutionized the way we see and use displays in consumer electronics, the automotive industry, and in lighting applications. OLED displays are energy-efficient, fast at displaying images, and offer better viewing angles, making them perfect for modern devices. Automotive manufacturers are using OLED displays and lighting systems to create innovative designs and improve energy efficiency in their cars. OLED lighting panels are also great for use in commercial spaces due to their low heat output and energy efficiency. As this technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more exciting developments in the future.

When Was OLED Invented?

OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diode is a type of display technology that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks to its vibrant colors, deeper blacks, and energy efficiency. But when was OLED invented? The technology may seem like it was developed recently, but its origins can be traced back to the 1950s.

OLED technology was first discovered by Andre Bernanose and co-workers in 1951 when they noticed that some organic materials emit light when an electric current passes through them. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that OLED display technology began to take shape. In 1987, Ching W. Tang and Steven Van Slyke of Kodak discovered a way to create practical OLED devices, leading to the development of OLED technology that we know today.

While OLED technology has come a long way since its discovery in the 1950s, there are still future developments that could revolutionize the way we use display technology.

Future Developments in OLED Technology

Foldable OLEDs

Early versions of foldable OLED displays have already been introduced, with smartphones and other devices having flexible screens. Further development could lead to even more flexible and versatile displays. The potential of foldable OLEDs is enormous, and there are many possible applications for the technology. Foldable OLEDs could lead to the development of new devices that are smaller, lighter, and more durable.

Higher Resolution and Larger Displays

One of the advantages of OLED technology is that it is already capable of producing high-resolution displays. OLEDs are found on the latest smartphones, TVs, and other gadgets. OLED technology is already capable of producing 4K and even 8K displays, but further advancements may lead to even higher resolutions and larger screens. As a result, OLED displays could become the go-to display of choice for high-end devices such as ultra-large televisions.

Improved Manufacturing Efficiency

One of the major challenges of OLED display technology is that it is relatively expensive to produce compared to other display technologies. As OLED production processes become more streamlined and efficient, costs may come down, and the technology could become even more widely adopted in a variety of industries. There is already research being conducted on new methods of producing OLED displays, such as inkjet printing, which could reduce manufacturing costs and make OLED technology more accessible.

In conclusion, OLED technology was invented in the 1950s, but its evolution has continued up to the present day. OLED displays have come a long way since then, and with the rapid pace of technological advancements, OLED is poised to remain at the forefront of display technology for years to come.

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