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Why Transparent OLED Displays are the Future of Tech

Transparent OLED displays have long been in the works, and now they are slowly making their way into the consumer market as well. Transparent OLED displays are also thin and light in their design because they are self-emissive, which means they do not need a backlight unit. This type of display design also creates much better contrast ratios than the conventional LCD panels we use now and allows them to be flexible so they can be bent into curved or rounded designs without issues with warping or color distortion.

What is Display Transparency?

Before we can understand why transparent displays are so amazing, let’s look at what makes displays work in general. Displays come in a variety of different forms, but they all share one common function: to create light. Even if you’re using your phone’s screen as an alarm clock, it has to display some form of light. The key part here is transparency. Modern LCD screens like what you see on your laptop or phone are not transparent—they appear white because they have to be backlit by a separate source of light (typically a row of LED lights). On top of that, other display technologies such as plasma screens aren’t totally transparent either.

What are OLED Displays?

While traditional LCDs use a backlight unit to shine through a liquid crystal layer, OLEDs use small organic compounds as pixels. Each pixel is composed of three sub-pixels: one red, one green, and one blue. While that might sound like it would produce an inferior image, it actually makes for a much better viewing experience with clearer contrast and sharper definition. That’s because there is no diffusion or refraction between pixels in an OLED display; since each pixel emits its own light, images look sharper and more vibrant when viewed on an OLED display than they do on a traditional LCD screen.

Transparent OLED display module

OLED display, also known as Organic Light Emitting Diode is a new generation display in the field of small-medium size display. It has several advantages such as high contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, and low power consumption. Nowadays most mobile phones have used OLED displays. There is no doubt that it will become more and more popular in near future. Due to its structure design and lightweight, it can be applied to all kinds of LCDs of large sizes like TV screens and computer monitors, etc.

OLED Displays Can Be Black (OLED) Or White (LCD)

Although both LCD and OLED displays can be used to create transparent screens, LCD screens cannot turn off all their pixels at once. The technology for blackening each pixel individually does not yet exist, so an LCD display requires some light-blocking components to keep it from being entirely transparent. Currently, most large LCD displays use a film of etched microlenses that filters some light from every pixel—in other words, every time you look at an LCD screen you’re seeing a certain amount of reflected light from its layers. This means that when viewed straight on—or even slightly off-axis—an ordinary LCD screen looks partially translucent and displays less than 100 percent brightness.

How Thin Are They?

At only a few atoms thick, transparent OLED displays offer two compelling advantages over traditional LCD displays: They take up less space, and they let more light pass through their surface. The advantages here translate to more efficient devices (think smaller cell phones and computers) that also have brighter screens. Plus, as an emissive technology, these displays can be printed onto any shape or size surface — no backlight unit necessary. That makes them much thinner than traditional LCDs while producing higher-contrast images and a wider color gamut. You could even print flexible displays on surfaces like your clothing so you could see exactly what’s happening on your smartwatch when it is behind your sleeve!

How Light Are They?

The big upside to self-emissive displays is that they don’t need a backlight, which means they are extremely thin. They also require very little power and can be made in any size imaginable. According to Universal Display Corporation, which has been leading research into transparent OLEDs for decades, they should be available commercially within two years. The first commercial uses will most likely be in smartwatches or smartphones with curved screens—i.e., devices that need to show information at all times but do not have room for an additional display above or below a phone’s main screen. As we approach 2020, expect to see more large transparent OLED screens incorporated into everyday life (for example windows at home and work).

Do They Require Backlights?

The short answer is no, they don’t require a backlight to display content. Instead, they use small organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that produce their own light, making them self-illuminating. That cuts down on size, weight, and power consumption because they don’t need a separate light source or black spaces between pixels like conventional LCDs do. They also have an almost infinite contrast ratio that could make for super crisp displays in both personal electronics and larger-scale applications.

How Do We Get There From Here?

One of the biggest hurdles in bringing these displays to market is dealing with manufacturing costs. This new technology is expected to be much more expensive than current LCD displays, but things like economies of scale and reduced material costs could help make transparent OLED displays a reality. However, while they will come down in price eventually, it’s unlikely that they will ever completely replace other display types. Instead, we can expect them to coexist with LCDs and even dominate certain niche applications like head-up displays for automobiles and smartphones.

Final Thoughts

OLED displays have been around for a number of years, but it’s only recently that scientists have figured out how to make them transparent. The biggest hurdle was developing a way to create an efficient enough solution in which light could be channeled from one side and passed through. Though we’re just at the beginning stages now, it won’t be long before we see these fantastic new display technologies integrated into everyday devices—and driving their prices down along with it. Transparent OLED displays will undoubtedly change how we interact with our tech products and I can’t wait until they become available for consumers to buy in stores.

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