Tech

Breakthrough can help you 3D print OLED screens at home


You may not have to send your device in (or buy replacement parts) if the screen is broken – you can create a new one yourself. University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers have developed what they say is the first fully 3D printed flexible OLED display. In theory, you wouldn’t have to depend on panels made in large remote factories to build or repair your devices.

The new method combines two 3D printing methods to print the six layers required for a functional display. The team used extrusion printing to create the electrodes, which wrap, insulate and connect to each other, while the active layers are spray-painted at room temperature. Previous efforts by various groups either had problems with light uniformity (consistency across the entire panel) or relied on techniques beyond 3D printing to get some components into place. , such as spin coating or thermal evaporation.

The prototype is only 1.5 inches wide and uses only 64 pixels. Any practical use would require a much higher resolution (a 1080p display requires more than 2 million pixels), and the scientists wanted to improve brightness as well. It can also take some time to adapt this technology for home use. The university used a custom 3D printer that costs Tesla Model WILL – it may take some time for this method to work on commercially available printers, even including high-end models like FormLabs ‘$4,850 3B +.

However, the nature of the technology makes those goals relatively achievable and opens the door to many possibilities if and when home-printed OLED displays are a reality. In addition to self-healing, this can help you build homebrew widgets with custom screens. While this effort isn’t entirely representative of democratizing tech manufacturing (there are more parts to it than screens, after all), it can reduce your reliance on assembled components. available from companies.

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