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Samsung's Transition to Blue Phosphorescent OLED: Challenges and Opportunities

Samsung PHOLED

Samsung Display, a major player in the display technology industry, is making strides towards adopting blue phosphorescent OLED (PHOLED) technology in its panels, aiming for increased energy efficiency. This transition, expected in the second half of 2025, holds the potential to significantly improve power consumption and brightness levels. Despite hurdles in the development process, this move could mark a groundbreaking achievement for Samsung Display.

Blue PHOLED and Commercialization:

The shift from blue fluorescent OLEDs with 25% internal luminous efficiency to blue PHOLED with 100% internal luminous efficiency promises enhanced energy efficiency. Universal Display (UDC), a primary supplier of OLED materials, has been vocal about blue PHOLED's anticipated commercialization by 2024. However, the decision to implement this technology in OLED TV and monitor panels lies with display makers like LG Display and Samsung Display.

Samsung Display's Mobile Panels:

Samsung Display's mobile panels might fully embrace PHOLED by the second half of 2025. This transition, though not confirmed for mainstream devices, is expected to initially impact foldable phones, such as the Galaxy Z Fold 7 and Galaxy Z Flip 7. However, there are durability concerns that might influence the decision to use PHOLED for widespread consumer products.

Benefits of PHOLED:

The current blue fluorescent OLED solution in Samsung Display's AMOLED panels has a 25% internal luminous efficiency, while the red and green PHOLEDs boast 100% efficiency. By replacing blue fluorescent OLEDs with PHOLEDs, Samsung Display aims to reduce overall power consumption. However, concerns about the durability of blue PHOLED materials, with a lifespan reportedly 55% shorter than their fluorescent counterparts, pose challenges to widespread adoption.

Challenges and Future Prospects:

Industry watchers initially predicted a mid-2024 application of blue PHOLED to foldable displays, but development challenges have pushed the timeline to H2 2025. Despite uncertainties about mainstream adoption due to durability concerns, UBI Research believes Samsung Display will continue its efforts to become the first manufacturer capable of mass-producing AMOLED panels with blue phosphorescent pixels.

Decarbonization Challenges:

In a separate context, a Greenpeace report highlights Samsung Display's slow progress in decarbonizing its supply chain, receiving a C- rating in 2022. While an improvement from 2021, the report suggests that Samsung Display needs to intensify its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.

Samsung Display's pursuit of blue PHOLED technology presents both challenges and opportunities. The transition, expected in the second half of 2025, has the potential to revolutionize energy efficiency in display technology, albeit with uncertainties surrounding durability. The broader industry context emphasizes the need for companies like Samsung Display to address environmental concerns and accelerate efforts toward sustainability.

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