AMOLED (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display device technology used in smartwatches, mobile devices, laptops, and televisions. OLED describes a specific type of thin-film-display technology in which organic compounds form the electroluminescent material, and active matrix refers to the technology behind the addressing of pixels.
As of 2008, AMOLED technology has been used in mobile phones, media players and digital cameras, and continued to make progress toward low-power, low-cost and large-size (for example, 40-inch or 100-centimeter) applications.
An AMOLED display consists of an active matrix of OLED pixels generating light (luminescence) upon electrical activation that have been deposited or integrated onto a thin-film transistor (TFT) array, which functions as a series of switches to control the current flowing to each individual pixel.
Typically, this continuous current flow is controlled by at least two TFTs at each pixel (to trigger the luminescence), with one TFT to start and stop the charging of a storage capacitor and the second to provide a voltage source at the level needed to create a constant current to the pixel, thereby eliminating the need for the very high currents required for passive-matrix OLED operation.
TFT backplane technology is crucial in the fabrication of AMOLED displays. In AMOLEDs, the two primary TFT backplane technologies, polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) and amorphous silicon (a-Si), are currently used offering the potential for directly fabricating the active-matrix backplanes at low temperatures (below 150 °C) onto flexible plastic substrates for producing flexible AMOLED displays.
Manufacturers have developed in-cell touch panels, integrating the production of capacitive sensor arrays in the AMOLED module fabrication process. In-cell sensor AMOLED fabricators include AU Optronics and Samsung. Samsung has marketed its version of this technology as “Super AMOLED”. Researchers at DuPont used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to optimize coating processes for a new solution-coated AMOLED display technology that is competitive in cost and performance with existing chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technology. Using custom modeling and analytic approaches, Samsung has developed short and long-range film-thickness control and uniformity that is commercially viable at large glass sizes.
AMOLED displays provide higher refresh rates than passive-matrix, often reducing the response time to less than a millisecond, and they consume significantly less power. This advantage makes active-matrix OLEDs well-suited for portable electronics, where power consumption is critical to battery life.
The amount of power the display consumes varies significantly depending on the color and brightness shown. As an example, one commercial QVGA OLED display consumes 0.3 watts while showing white text on a black background, but more than 0.7 watts showing black text on a white background, while an LCD may consume only a constant 0.35 watts regardless of what is being shown on screen. Because the black pixels turn completely off, AMOLED also has contrast ratios that are significantly higher than LCD.
AMOLED displays may be difficult to view in direct sunlight compared with LCDs because of their reduced maximum brightness. Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology addresses this issue by reducing the size of gaps between layers of the screen. Additionally, PenTile technology is often used for a higher resolution display while requiring fewer subpixels than needed otherwise, sometimes resulting in a display less sharp and more grainy than a non-PenTile display with the same resolution.
The organic materials used in AMOLED displays are very prone to degradation over a relatively short period of time, resulting in color shifts as one color fades faster than another, image persistence, or burn-in.
As of 2010, demand for AMOLED screens was high and, due to supply shortages of the Samsung-produced displays, certain models of HTC smartphones were changed to use next-generation LCD displays from the Samsung-Sony joint-venture SLCD in the future.
Flagship smartphones sold as of December 2011 used either Super AMOLED or IPS panel premium LCD. Super AMOLED displays, such as the one on the Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III have often been compared to IPS panel premium LCDs, found in the iPhone 4S, HTC One X, and Nexus 4. For example, according to ABI Research the AMOLED display found in the Motorola Moto X draws just 92 mA during bright conditions and 68 mA while dim. On the other hand, compared with the IPS, the yield rate of AMOLED is low; the cost is also higher.
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