As acronyms go, OLED is one we see fairly frequently – even if we don’t exactly know what it stands for. Organic Light Emitting Diode displays are pretty much everywhere. Your phone, for example, no doubt has an OLED screen and that’s because it needs to be thin, light and offer excellent image quality. But, like all technology, it has its limitations. And where there are limitations, there are smart people endeavouring to overcome them.
For OLED displays, the biggest challenge is lack of brightness. When you compare it with LED, for example, the difference in brightness is marked. When measured, OLED usually tops out at around 1000 nits (nits being the unit for luminance), but LED can be up to eight times higher. But what it lacks in brightness it makes up for in perfect blacks that create enough of a contrast to compensate. So, on the whole, it’s a great technology that everyone is happy with. Mostly.
Because brightness is important. It affects visibility. And colour accuracy. Greater brightness on a screen makes colours more vivid. Images are more realistic and lifelike, detail is maintained – even in extremes of light and dark. In short, it makes what you’re looking at a whole lot clearer. Which is essential if you’re in the business of creating images in the first place and using an OLED display to take photos or for filming. So, it stands to reason that Canon should have a more than passing interest. In fact, we’ve been in the business for some time, with Canon Tokki Corporation specialising in OLED manufacturing equipment.
We, of course, are also world leaders in research and development and have been in the top five of US patent rankings for 37 years, with up to 8% of our sales revenue invested in R&D every year. In short, creating and improving incredible tech is what we do. When you combine the two, it will be absolutely no surprise to learn that Canon is responsible for a recent huge development in OLED technology. But to understand why OLED isn’t perfect, how it was improved and, in turn, how we made it even better, it helps to explain the way it works in the first place and how the next generation – QD-OLED – is different.