Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stretchable OLED

This article is The First Fully Stretchable OLED. It talks about an emerging product, which is a stretchable organic light-emitting diode. This stretchable screen has been under development and testing at UCLA.

Researches have been having difficulties with this invention. This is not surprising, due to the nature of the product. Being able to stretch any sort of screen presents inherent problems. Previous researches have gone as far as too make screens that could bend, however the researches at UCLA have been able to tackle this issue. The UCLA team “coated carbon nanotubes onto a glass backing and added a liquid polymer that becomes solid yet stretchable when exposed to ultraviolet light.” Once the polymer dries and is peeled off a stretchable plastic, the OLED remains. After being put around plastic, the product can be stretched as much as 45% of its original size.

This product has numerous business applications. Cell phones, tablets, televisions, and computers could all drastically change from how they are presently. Firstly, cell phones could be stretched to fit a particular size that is needed. For example, when you are texting you may want more space for your fingers to type, however when you put the phone into your pocket you may want it to be smaller. Similarly, tablets could potentially be an equally useful application of this product. With this product tablets could fit into your pocket. Lastly, televisions could become essentially portable throughout your house. For example, if a person wanted to use a television in a larger room, they could stretch it out to adequately fit the size of the room. However, if they wanted to they could also use the television in a smaller room, like a kitchen, and shrink it.

However, there are still problems with this product that could make this whole invention come to an abrupt end. Right now, if the product is stretched repetitively or overstretched it loses its functionality. Seeing as how consumers tend to treat their electronics carelessly at times this presents issues. For example, if a phone was to be just tossed onto a table with the OLED in it, it could easily break. Another potential issue with the OLED being put into production is that at this time it could easily malfunction before even reaching the consumer.

I feel that this is a product that could potentially change electronics dramatically. As stated previously, there are several applications that would make this successful. On top of these applications is that the way the OLED is built, makes it superior to other electronic products. I say this because according to Zhenan Bao, “Typically, carbon nanotube film is rough, so that can cause shorting in electronic devices, using this method, they ended up with a relatively flat surface that can be used for an electrode.” According to Zhibin Yu, “The approach we used is very simple and can be easily scaled up for real production.” Right now, the OLED is far from being put into any sort of product for sale, however these initial steps are proving that at some point it will be possible.

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