What Exactly is AMOLED?
AMOLED is an acronym that stands for active-matrix organic light-emitting diode. It is an advanced display technology that eschews older, passive matrix-addressing schemes in favor of something more responsive. This yields several key viewing benefits of AMOLEDs, including fast response times, excellent vibrancy, and extremely wide fields of view (FoV). They are also more flexible, lighter, and thinner than other displays like LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and LCDs (liquid crystal displays), and have no restrictions on panel size – as with PMOLEDs. These design advantages practically eliminate competition when it comes to AMOLED vs LED and LCD in critical markets with intersecting performance requirements, such as in smartphones and the ever-growing wearables sector.
Yet the display market is so dense with acronyms that it can be difficult for end-users to differentiate between one display technology and another. What exactly is AMOLED? Is AMOLED the same as OLED? This article aims to answer all these questions and more.
What Does AMOLED Mean?
AMOLED describes a thin-film display in which the electrodes and organic light-emitting layers are stacked upon a substrate with integrated circuitry. A voltage applied to the cathode and anode materials excites the organic layer and causes electroluminescence, while thin-film transistors (TFTs) embedded in the backplane control the flow of current to each individual pixel. Crucially, each pixel in the display is activated directly, meaning each pixel state can be switched much faster than conventional displays.
Therefore, AMOLED is better than OLED in the sense that they have increased functionality due to this additional pixel-modulating matrix. However, they are ultimately built upon the same basic display platform. AMOLED simply provides faster motion responses, higher brightness, reduced power consumption, and – often – greater glare reduction because of this active pixel modulation.
What About AMOLED vs. TFT-LCD?
Thin-film transistors have been integrated into LCDs for some time. The obvious abbreviation for the technology is TFT-LCD, but they are sometimes referred to as LCD-IPS (in-plane switching). This paradigm follows a similar principle to AMOLED technology in that they use an active matrix addressing scheme. With IPS technology, molecules in the liquid crystal layer are aligned parallel to an LED backlight, with the ability to rotate freely up to 90° when a current is applied. TFTs control individual crystal alignment, resulting in excellent image fidelity and rapid response times.
However, TFT-LCDs require several additional layers in their panel array, most notably an LED backlight and a liquid crystal cell. This makes them naturally thicker and heavier than AMOLEDs. This contributes to increased production costs, which can become prohibitive when deploying the relatively novel IPS derivative. Lastly, LCD technology simply cannot compete with the self-emissivity of OLED technology which yields an enormous cross-section of performance improvements: higher contrast ratios, thinner displays, reduced energy consumption, wider viewing angles, and so on.
The superior performance properties of AMOLED technology have gradually been acknowledged by smartphone manufacturers, with market penetration expected to rise to 46% in 2022. That means almost half of all smartphones produced globally will make use of AMOLED technology.
Looking for AMOLED Solutions?
At Avantama, we produce custom solutions for electronic displays, focussing on tailored nanomaterials for all levels of production, from proof of concept right up to the industrial scale. If you are looking for specialty dispersions for solution-processed OLED manufacturing, why not contact a member of the team today?