AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions. OLED describes a specific type of thin-film-display technology in which organic compounds form the electroluminescent material, and active matrix refers to the technology behind the addressing of pixels.
As of 2012, AMOLED technology is used in mobile phones, media players and digital cameras, and continues to make progress toward low-power, low-cost and large-size (for example, 40-inch) applications.
Schematic of an active-matrix OLED display
An AMOLED display consists of an active matrix of OLED pixels that generate light (luminescence) upon electrical activation that have been deposited or integrated onto a thin-film-transistor (TFT) array, which functions as a series of switches to control the current flowing to each individual pixel.
Typically, this continuous current flow is controlled by at least two TFTs at each pixel (to trigger the luminescence), with one TFT to start and stop the charging of a storage capacitor and the second to provide a voltage source at the level needed to create a constant current to the pixel, thereby eliminating the need for the very high currents required for passive-matrix OLED operation.
TFT backplane technology is crucial in the fabrication of AMOLED displays. The two primary TFT backplane technologies, namely polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) and amorphous silicon (a-Si), are used today in AMOLEDs. These technologies offer the potential for fabricating the active-matrix backplanes at low temperatures (below 150°C) directly onto flexible plastic substrates for producing flexible AMOLED displays.
Manufacturers have developed in-cell touch panels, integrating the production of capacitive sensor arrays in the AMOLED module fabrication process. In-cell sensor AMOLED fabricators include AU Optronics and Samsung. Samsung has marketed their version of this technology as Super AMOLED. Researchers at DuPont used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to optimize coating processes for a new solution-coated AMOLED display technology that is cost and performance competitive with existing chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technology. Using custom modeling and analytical approaches, they developed short- and long-range film-thickness control and uniformity that is commercially viable at large glass sizes.
Comparison to other technologies
AMOLED displays provide higher refresh rates than their passive-matrix OLED counterparts,[not specific enough to verify] improving response time often to under a millisecond, and they consume significantly less power. This advantage makes active-matrix OLEDs well suited for portable electronics, where power consumption is critical to battery life.
The amount of power the display consumes varies significantly depending on the colour and brightness shown. As an example, one commercial QVGA OLED display consumes 0.3 watts while showing white text on a black background, but more than 0.7 watts showing black text on a white background, while an LCD may consume only a constant 0.35 watts regardless of what is being shown on screen. Because the black pixels actually turn off, AMOLED also has contrast ratios that are significantly better than LCD.
AMOLED displays may be difficult to view in direct sunlight compared with LCDs because of their reduced maximum brightness. Samsung's Super AMOLED technology addresses this issue by reducing the size of gaps between layers of the screen. Additionally, PenTile technology is often used to allow for a higher resolution display while requiring fewer subpixels than would otherwise be needed, often resulting in a display less sharp and more grainy compared with a non-pentile display with the same resolution.
The organic materials used in AMOLED displays are prone to degradation over a period of time, resulting in color shifts as one color fades faster than another, image persistence or burn-in. However, technology has been developed to compensate for material degradation.
Current demand for AMOLED screens is high, and, due to supply shortages of the Samsung-produced displays, certain models of HTC smartphones have been changed to use next-generation LCD displays from the Samsung and Sony joint-venture SLCD in the future.
Flagship smartphones sold as of 2011-12 use either Super AMOLED or IPS panel premium LCD. Super AMOLED displays, such as the one on the Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III have often been compared to IPS panel premium LCDs, found in the iPhone 4S, HTC One X, and Nexus 4