Researchers may have solved OLED burn-in once and for all

Mike Wheatley

Most people think that OLED burn-in is much less of an issue nowadays than it was in years gone by, thanks to the introduction of algorithms that can compensate for the overworked pixels that impact on images.


However, for those who are still concerned that burn-in might cause problems – such as gamers or sports fans, whose content will display a potentially problem-causing static image for a long duration - researchers may have hit upon a solution.

In a research paper published in the journal Nature, researchers from the University of Cambridge say they have created “ultra narrowband blue emitters” that can sidestep the undesirable energy transfer involved with existing blue OLEDs, which is one of the primary causes of burn-in.

Blue OLEDs are critical in RGB OLED displays, as they’re one of the three primary colours, used in combination with red and green OLEDs, to create all of the other colours, including billions of different shads. However, Blue OLEDs are troublesome and can hinder the longevity of OLED TVs. They’re notably the least stable of the OLED pixels, due to the energy transfer from their sensitizer components to an emitter module. According to the researchers, this energy transfer is inefficient and can damage the Blue OLEDs in the long-term, causing burn-in issue.s

To solve this problem, the researchers used diodes that emit blue light along the narrowband spectrum, while integrating an emissive core that’s insulated with alkylene straps. This allows for more stable Blue OLED pixels that can suppress undesirable energy transfer, making them more efficient. The technique also eliminates the need for a sensitizer component with a high energy gap matrix, the researchers said.

Their tests show that the new Blue OLED pixels are much more stable, and it could lead to the creation of OLED panels that are much more durable and resistant to burn-in. By removing the unwanted energy transfer, OLED displays also become more power-efficient, meaning lower energy consumption.

For now, the new Blue OLEDs are still just a prototype and they will need to undergo much more extensive testing and experimentation before panel makers decide to integrate them into their designs. But the potential is there for burn-in resistant OLED panels to become a reality, which would mean OLED TVs have much longer lifetimes.

It’s already believed that Samsung Display’s QD-OLED panels are much more resistant to burn-in than LG’s WRGB OLED displays, as they incorporate smart features that aid in pixel refreshing.