3D Printers have a significant contribution to the development of various industries. Likewise, 3D printers can produce flexible OLED displays, thanks to a breakthrough. If this technology becomes commercially viable, the OLED display market will change drastically, allowing users to 3D print OLED displays at home.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities used a custom 3D printer to build a fully 3D-printed and flexible OLED screen. This technological breakthrough could essentially change the course of an entire industry. For instance, you would no longer rely on panels made at manufacturing sites available in the market.
The technology behind OLED screens works by converting electricity into light via an organic material layer. OLEDs are flexible, high-quality displays that smartphones, TVs, and most devices can use. Moreover, the team previously attempted to 3D print OLED displays. However, they were frustrated by the uniformity of the light-emitting layers.
The new approach combines two methods of 3D printing to achieve the six layers required for a functional display. The researchers used extrusion printing to make the electrodes, encapsulation, insulation, and interconnects and spray-painted the active layers at room temperature.
Further, the prototype was only 1.5-inches wide and only used 64 pixels. However, most modern displays require much higher resolution displays. The research team also wants to improve the brightness of the 3D-printed OLED screen.
Above all, the project is currently in its early stages and might take a considerable amount of time to be viable. Their custom 3D printer alone costs an insane amount. Hence, you might have to wait for a while before you decide to 3D print OLED displays at home.