A leading Korean chemistry researcher has predicted that the era of truly flexible organic light-emitting diode displays will come as early as next year as major electronics firms plan to churn out a slew of smart devices that can be folded and rolled up.
"Consumers will likely see various types of flexible or bendable displays applied to smartphones and wearable gadgets," Kim Yun-hi, a chemistry professor at Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, told The Korea Herald.
"For example, the next generation of the Galaxy Gear and Google Glass, featuring fully flexible displays, will come out within a couple years," she said.
Stressing that the OLED is indeed the technology of the future, the professor predicted that the technology will dominate the global display market down the road as the OLED displays become cheaper and lighter than those currently used.
According to Kim, the flexible displays currently on the market are not "truly flexible" products.
"The flexible displays do not deserve their name since they were just stretched by force into a curved shape," Kim said.
Organic polymers recently developed by Kim and a group of researchers are expected to help developers overcome the limitations of the existing technology, such as inorganic thin-film transistors and oxide thin-film transistors, paving the way for the truly flexible display era.
The materials have better pliability and stability than other OLED technologies, and have a record-high level of charge-carrying mobility, she said.
The researcher expects that the materials with high electron mobility will help us develop much lighter and cheaper smart gadgets equipped with flexible and bendable displays.
The organic polymers can also be used for various products, ranging from photovoltaic panels and radio frequency identification devices to biometric recognition gadgets, according to the professor, who has been working with Samsung Display in developing materials for OLED technologies and nurturing students in the field.