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Study of fireflies boosts OLED efficiency by over 60 per cent

by Mark Tyson on 22 April 2016, 14:01

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Fireflies are thought to be one of nature’s most efficient light-emitting creatures. Researchers have found out that the brightness of the firefly is not solely down to its use of chemicals but has a lot to do with the structure of its chitin ‘lantern’, so they have looked into how humans could leverage similar structures in OLED displays.

The firefly lantern is not smooth like human made light structures but “is patterned with tiny hierarchical structures,” explains Phys.org. These asymmetric inclined microstructures with nanostructures were studied by scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) who smartly replicated them to create “a bioinspired organic light-emitting diode (OLED)”. The result was an impressive 60 per cent increase in the light extraction efficiency and 15 per cent wider angle of illumination.

In a communication to Phys.org, project leader Ki-Hun Jeong said “it was clearly revealed that the function of asymmetric and hierarchical structures substantially contributes to the efficient extraction and wide angular illumination of bioluminescent light that would otherwise be entrapped in the firefly lantern.” Thus the study has enabled the team of scientists to successfully utilise similar patterned structures to create next-generation OLEDs. Large-scale fabrication of bio-inspired OLEDs can now go ahead and the scientists believe that they offer “a new paradigm for engineering biomimetics for lighting applications”.


At the time of writing the KAIST team are looking for an industrial OLED partner to commercialise the ideas. Meanwhile work continues in refining these biologically inspired photonic structures.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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will this solve the issue of blue pixel burn in?
will this solve the issue of blue pixel burn in?

Unless you leave your TV on for a couple of months displaying the same image it's not a problem.
will this solve the issue of blue pixel burn in?

Burn in really isn't an issue unless you plan on using your tv to show plane schedules or leave it on the sky menu for days at a time.
Very nice indeed :)

Hexus: any chance you can keep us updated on news on this when it hopefully gets picked up by a monitor manufacturer?

The problem with such technology is that it sometimes falls by the wayside, so we get all excited about it and then it never commercialises.

Really hoping I might be able to look into an OLED monitor in 2017, when I look to upgrade my current rig, but OLED technology progression is practically glacial.
will this solve the issue of blue pixel burn in?
You're combining two potential issues with OLED in that statement.

Firstly, I believe you meant blue pixel *burn out*, since the issue with “blue” in OLED is that it has a significantly lower lifespan than red and green.

Secondly, one characteristic OLED shares with plasma (and to a somewhat lesser extent LCD) is the potential risk of burn in. However, like with plasma, this is mainly an issue when displaying the same pixel structure over a lengthy time period. TV station logos come to mind.