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Sony talks up blue OLED breakthrough

Larger and less power hungry OLEDs en route?

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Sony is on its way to manufacturing larger yet less power-hungry OLED displays, thanks to a breakthrough in the screen technology's colour properties, it said today.

The electronics giant claimed that, as a result of an agreement struck with Japanese firm Idemitsu Kosan in 2005, the two firms have been able increase the “internal quantum efficiency” of the colour blue from 25 per cent to 28.5 per cent.

That, it said, is the highest ever "luminous efficiency" for a blue fluorescent material.

Like all colour TVs, OLED displays produce colour by mixing different intensities of red, green and blue light. Each colour is generated by passing a current through a fluorescent material.

Sony said that blue is the most energy intensive of the three colours - it requires more energy to deliver a given level of light brightness than the other two. That's one reason why OLED screens' blue pixels fade more quickly than red and green ones do.

The small leap in the colour’s efficiency could yield savings in power consumption - get the same colour intensity using less electricity - and enable larger OLEDs to be developed

Sony didn't mention when it plans to produce the first OLED displays using the new blue technology. However, the breakthrough at least helps to deflect recent unwanted attention concerning the lifespan of its 11in XEL-1 OLED screen.

Last week, the electronics giant was forced to downplay the results of DisplaySearch tests on the screen’s lifespan, which found that the XEL-1's brightness drops by 50 per cent after 17,000 hours – far fewer hours than the 30,000 hours claimed by Sony.

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