LG Display (CEO Han Sang-beom) started the manufacturing of flexible OLED display panels for smart phones for the first time in the world to prove its technological excellence in not only the TV but also mobile sectors.
The company announced on November 7 that it began the mass production of flexible AM OLED panels for smart phone use. The products are six inches in size, which is the largest of all existing mobile OLED panels, and have a vertically curved shape. Not glass but plastic substrates are applied to them.
The flexible OLED panels are characterized by the attachment of a protective film instead of glass after completing the panel production process by means of a sealing technique based on a plastic thin film transistor (TFT). As such, the panels can be freely bent and resistant to external impacts.
The other LCD and OLED panels in the market require upper and lower plates to be attached and sealed with glass in order to prevent moisture prevention and support the display element, which leads to an increase in weight and the possibility of breakage. LG Display’s new products are expected to deal with the problems to better suit the needs of the clients.
“The new panels will further increase our presence in the entire flexible OLED market regardless of the screen size,” said the company’s chief technology officer (CTO) and vice president Yeo Sang-deok, adding, “We are also planning to come up with higherperformance and design-improved flexible OLED products.”
As stated above, the latest products of LG Display adopt plastic substrates to be curved vertically like a banana. Specifically, the amount of curvature can form a radius of approximately 700 mm and is expected to result in an innovation of smart phone design.
The company’s flexible OLED panel is produced by stacking multiple thin films instead of glass substrates and thus the thickness is no more than 0.44 mm, about one-third of the glass-based products. It is the thinnest one of its kind in the world and weighs just 7.2 g to be the lightest. In addition, it is highly practical since it can endure repeated falls and external impacts.
Back in March 2012, LG Display developed and manufactured the world’s first plastic and electronic ink-based, six-inch electronic paper display (EPD) panel. Along with it, the new flexible OLED panel is likely to cement its leadership in the global display industry. The company unveiled a 55-inch curved OLED TV ahead of anyone else at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, too.
The display panel manufacturer is planning to present bendable and unbreakable products sooner or later as well to accelerate its technological evolution. It is also working on rollable and foldable ones so that more people can feel the innovation it brings in the everyday life.
“The flexible display market and technology are in their early stages yet, but I am sure that the technology will be in wide use in the near future as part of mobile devices, in-vehicle displays units where safety matters, tablet PCs, watch phones and many more,” the CTO went on, continuing, “My company will take the lead in the technological and market innovation capitalizing on its competitive edge.”
In the meantime, according to market research firm HIS Display Bank, the global flexible display market is estimated to reach US$1.5 billion in size in 2016 and the figure is forecast to exceed US$10 billion in 2019.