According to TrendForce’s latest technology and market report, OLED panels will take over 50% share in smartphones this year due to continuous price reductions. However, the share of OLED in TVs, laptops and tablets and other devices will remain very small, below 3%. In order to increase the market share of OLED, panel makers need to overcome technical challenges including improving panel performance and reducing panel cost.
The report highlights Japan Display’s (JDI) implementation of eLEAP technology. This technology is the first to use a maskless OLED manufacturing method, resulting in lower power consumption, higher brightness and longer panel life. eLEAP solves two of the main problems hampering the development of next-generation OLEDs: RGB evaporation failures and non-uniform film thickness caused by the gravitational sag of the thin metal mask (FMM) with increasing size.
In parallel, Visionox showcased its maskless ViP technology at the annual Society for Information Displays (SID) Display Week. The company has managed to reduce the distance between pixels by combining lithographic pixel isolation with advanced evaporation technology. In addition, when the resolution reaches 800 pixels per inch (PPI), the distance between layers of pixels decreases to 10 microns, ultimately increasing the lifespan of the OLED display.
Analyst firm TrendForce identified five benefits of Visionox’s ViP technology used to isolate OLED pixels:
- The production process can solve the color mixing problems caused by long-term evaporation of FMM, which helps improve color and picture quality.
- Separate pixel electrodes can not only extend the overall life of the device, but also reduce the leakage current loss, which improves the energy efficiency and durability of devices.
- ViP technology can effectively increase pixel density and brightness, which improves picture quality;
- Simultaneous fabrication of auxiliary electrodes can help expand the use of large OLED displays in the future.
- The technology can overcome the limitations that FMM imposes on the distance between pixels, expanding its application and promoting the development of the technology.
All of this means that ViP technology can help create thinner, higher quality displays.
Recently, several major industry players announced their ambitious plans for the future of OLED. For example, Samsung announced plans to invest in a new G8.7 generation factory, BOE is planning the B16 project, JDI and HKC have formed a strategic alliance to develop new technologies, and Visionox is actively promoting OLED technology. These developments not only meet Apple’s demand, but also open up new opportunities for OLED panels in other markets. It is expected that by 2025, after the completion of the construction of new plants and the increase in the lifespan of OLED panels, their market penetration will increase significantly.
Currently, China’s OLED production capacity accounts for 43.7% of the world market. This is slightly less than the proportion of the capacities of South Korean panel manufacturers. The Chinese capacities are spread over 4-5 factories. With OLED production capacity currently overstretched and only expected to increase, companies that focus solely on OLED manufacturing are likely to face financial difficulties.