Researchers at the University of Minnesota have printed a working prototype of an OLED display using a specially designed 3D printer. according to search group In theory, this means that in a few years, you can print OLED screens at home, if necessary.
OLED screens are usually produced in large, expensive, and very clean production facilities, says Michael McAlpine, who was the lead person behind the project.
We wanted to see if we could ramp up all of this and print an OLED screen on a desktop 3D printer, which is custom built and costs about the same as a Tesla Model S.
Although the prototype cannot compete with large screens with millions of pixels, it is still an impressive feat. Admittedly, the prototype consists of 64 pixels spread over an area of about 40 x 40 mm, but this is still the first time the same printer has been used for all OLED layers. In principle, there’s no indication that it shouldn’t be possible to scale the technology up so you can use it at home, according to McAlpin:
– This is something we’ve already produced in the lab, and it’s not hard to imagine that you can translate this to print all kinds of screens even at home or on the go in just a few years, on a small portable printer.
The prototype was printed on a flexible backing material that was bent over 2,000 times to test how well the technology could withstand such a thing. You could also encapsulate 3D printed circuits in a similar material to be able to use OLED screens in a number of different products, says Ruitao Su, who is also a member of the research group.
The research group’s natural next step is to 3D print screens with higher resolutions and better brightness.
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