Video: Pickle as OLED? MIT professor explains.

This is a pickle as an OLED. Any questions?

Do you want fries with that?

Organic Light Emitting Diodes are one of those really cool technologies that amaze as much for their performance as for their price. They're thinner, more efficient, and brighter than LCD and Plasma, but the only readily available commercial TV is an $1800 11-incher from Sony. Still, does anyone really understand how they work?

In a video pointed out by our friends at Engadget (and embedded below), MIT professor Vladimir Bulovic does his best to explain how a positive and negative charge, if passed through an organic molecule (in this case, a pickle that goes all fluorescent), will meet up and glow.

Place a million or so molecules side by side on film, hit them with about 5 volts of current, and layer them (red, green, and blue), and you have the basic makeup for an OLED display. But don't take our word for it (is Levar Burton in the room?) – watch Professor Bulovic below.

OLED displays are so expensive these days because they're based on a relatively new technology. Factories to produce them in the 32-inch size – the size most people expect for TVs – are much more expensive than comparable LCD display manufacturing facilities. And without a strong demand for OLEDs, there's little incentive for companies to make such large investments.

But Sony and Samsung have said they are investing more in the technology soon, with larger TVs and OLED laptop screens on the horizon. For now, OLED displays are found on cell phones throughout Asia, and on personal audio devices, including Microsoft's Zune HD.


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