You would be able to 3D print OLED displays at home with this tech

You would be able to 3D print OLED displays at home with this tech
University of Minnesota
  • Researchers used a customised 3D printer to create an OLED display.
  • Two methods of 3D printing were deployed to successfully print the display.
  • Let’s take a look at how the technology works and how it could benefit users in the future.
3D printers themselves have revolutionized many industries such as automobiles, aerospace, dentistry, and others by allowing creation of products quickly. Now, researchers at University of Minnesota Twin Cities showcased how a 3D printer could be used to produce an OLED display. Once this technology becomes commercially viable, it will be a major breakthrough in terms of OLED display and could significantly reduce their prices.

Let’s take a look at how a 3D printer is used to create an OLED display.

How to produce OLED display using 3D print technology

For this particular study, the researchers used a customized printer that costs almost around $100,000. The team combined two methods of 3D printing to produce six layers of the display. While the electrodes, interconnects, insulation, and encapsulation were all printed using the extrusion method, the active layers were spray printed using the same 3D printer at room temperature.
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Similar attempts of printing OLED displays have been previously, however, they have been unsuccessful in providing uniformity to the light-emitting layers. In this latest experiment, the researchers team created a display prototype that was about 1.5-inches on each side and had 64 pixels. Each of the pixels is said to work and emit light.

Researchers said that the OLED display was flexible and exhibited stable emission over the 2,000 bending cycles which makes it suitable for many applications such as TV, mobile phones, monitors and wearable devices.

Challenges of 3D printed OLED displays

Although this technology showcases how we can print OLED displays at home using a 3D printer, it is going to take a while to become commercially available as the 3D printer used in this experiment is custom-made and very expensive.

Another challenge is the size of the display as the study seems to be successful for a 1.5-inch OLED display with 64 pixels which can only be deployed in smaller devices such as wearables that too with higher resolutions. However, the researchers say that they plan to 3D print OLED displays that are higher resolution with improved brightness.

Once the study is successful and the technology is easily available, it could allow users to print the OLED displays at home, instead of technicians at large factories. Users should also be able to produce spare parts when required for such displays. For now, this technology is still in its early stage and it could take a while for it to arrive at our homes.

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