Researchers tout foldable display for large mobile device screens

Samsung researchers say screen can fold in half with little distortion

Researchers are touting a prototype of a seamless foldable mobile device display that folds in half without a visible crease in the middle.  

Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea say fabricating a display that can fold in half would have the advantage of providing a large screen in a small, portable form without a visible crease between panels.

The Samsung researchers say they have demonstrated such as beast using what they called a foldable active matrix organic-light-emitting-diode (AMOLED) display. The display consists of two AMOLED panels, silicone rubber, a protective glass cover, and a module case. "The display has a very small folding radius of just 1 mm, so that one panel lies almost completely on top of the other when the display is folded at a 180° angle. Also, the glass cover not only prevents scratches, but can serve as a touch screen, "the researchers said in a statement.

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The researchers said they tested the foldable display's mechanical and optical strength by subjecting it to 100,000 folding-unfolding cycles, and found that the relative brightness at the junction decreased by 6%.  Since this difference is hardly recognizable by the human eye, the deterioration is considered negligible, the researchers stated.  Researchers published a detailed study on the display in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.

Samsung in particular is no stranger to building flexible displays.  For example this article shows Samsung's technology at this year's CES show.  The article states: "Despite recent hype, [AMOLED] technology has been in use for years - the Kodak Easyshare LS 633 digital camera with an AMOLED screen was released in 2003.  Since then though, the technology has been relatively slow to take off, mostly due to manufacturing costs, and the inability to fill the demand of smart phone manufacturers.  Despite difficulties, many companies - namely Sony and Samsung - remain committed to developing the technology.  Their efforts seem to be paying off - AMOLED screens are used in current products such as Samsung's Galaxy S smart phones and the soon to be released Nokia E7, next-gen Galaxy Tab, and Sony's Cyber-shot digital camera TX100v."

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