We already discussed here roll-up screens for televisions or for computers. Now, researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) say that, sooner or later, "powering up your laptop may require that you unroll it first."
Engineers at the University of Toronto are the first Canadian team to construct flexible organic light emitting devices (FOLEDs), technology that could lay the groundwork for future generations of bendable television, computer and cellphone screens. "It opens up a whole new range of possibilities for the future," says Zheng-Hong Lu, a professor in U of T's Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Today's flat panel displays are made on heavy, inflexible glass that can break during transportation and installation. Lu, working with post-doctoral fellow Sijin Han and engineering science student Brian Fung, developed FOLEDs made on a variety of lightweight, flexible materials ranging from transparent plastic films to reflective metal foils that can bend or roll into any shape.
Here is a picture of Lu showing a FOLED (Credit: Zheng-Hong Lu, U of T).
And what about costs and availability?
FOLED technology could be manufactured using a low-cost, high-efficiency mass production method, Lu says. The team, which is already commercializing some related technology, hopes a marketable device could be created within two to three years.
In fact, the researchers are also working with the Nortel Institute for Telecommunications who said last December that they reached a major breakthrough in flexible displays.
The FOLED technology potentially offers the ability to use roll-to-roll processing, much the same as newspapers are currently printed. This has tremendous implication for the realization of very low-cost and yet high-efficiency mass production cost to produce these types of displays.
Now, let's hope that FOLEDs will soon be available.
Source: Nicolle Wahl, University of Toronto, January 20, 2004; and various websites