Samsung and LG have a new OLED rival

Allied forces are gunning for the OLED crown.

Next Generation OLED eLEAP technology by JDI.

Samsung and LG have been the forerunners of OLED display technology with little to no competition. Fortunately, there’s a new OLED panel maker in town, and it has its sights set on the number one spot. The company, Japan Display (JDI), and its new eLEAP type of OLED panels will enter production by the end of 2024.

JDI announced the tech in 2022 with lofty claims that it developed a “historic breakthrough in display technology.” eLEAP is a new manufacturing process developed via a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi’s display panel divisions. The process is a cost-effective solution that’s used to create freeform OLEDs that are brighter, more efficient, and long-lasting when compared to the OLED panel types on the market today.

The breakdown

In comparison, JDI claims its OLED variant offers twice the peak brightness, three times the life span, and twice the emission efficiency. This is achieved by its larger aperture ratio and maskless deposition process. The aperture ratio of an OLED pixel determines how much light it can generate. Typical OLED displays have an aperture ratio of about 28%, whereas eLEAP displays offer up to a whopping 60%.

On the other hand, today’s OLED panels are produced using Fine-Metal-Mask (FMM) technology. This method has been the remaining bottleneck for the wider application of OLED displays. FMM is a complex and expensive process because it can only be created in an ambient vacuum environment. It is the main reason why OLED displays are so expensive to manufacture. More defects encountered during the process also lead to less product yield and more material waste.

The benefits of eLEAP is in its name: environment positive; Lithography with maskless deposition; Extreme long life, low power, and high luminance; Any shape Patterning. Quite the mouthful and not quite a proper acronym. Nevertheless, removing this complex metal masking process allows JDI to create higher-performance OLEDs at a much lower cost.

Should Samsung and LG be worried? Well, not quite yet. The display tech is still limited to its smaller 6-Gen substrate line. JDI initially plans to target smaller products like laptops, smartphones, car displays and wearable tech, at least for now. Thereafter, it can scale the process up to its 8-Gen (2200x2500mm) substrate line, which will allow for larger monitors and TVs. If all goes to plan, this will enter mass production by 2027.