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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

A Computer Screen You Can Fold

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Zheng-Hong Lu and Michael Helander

From left: University of Toronto professor Zheng-Hong Lu and Michael Helander.

Credit: Mark Neil Balson

University of Toronto researchers have developed a less-expensive method of making flat-panel displays that could lead to computer screens that can be rolled up like a newspaper and wallpaper that lights up a room.

The researchers, led by Michael Helander and Zhibin Wang, say they have developed the world's most efficient organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) on flexible plastic. They say the technology is a less costly, more efficient, and environmentally friendly way to build brighter flat-panel displays on a thinner, more durable and flexible surface.

“It was a happy accident after years of work,” says Helander, who has been working on the project for four years with Wang Toronto professor Zheng-Hong Lu.

OLED technology uses organic compounds to create colors. The organic dyes are electrically stimulated to emit different colors of light. Although the technology has existed for 25 years, Helander says it became increasingly complicated and expensive. “Basically, we went back to the original idea--and started again,” he says.

Helander says keeping the design simple is the only way to make the manufacturing process cost effective on a mass scale.

From University of Toronto 
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