Active-Matrix OLED

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What Does Active-Matrix OLED Mean?

Active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) is a display technology used in mobile devices, digital cameras, media players, and televisions. It employs active matrix in addressing pixels and uses a specific type of thin film technology in which organic compounds form electroluminescent material. AMOLED stands for active matrix organic light emitting diode.


The AMOLED display is made up of pixels integrated with, or deposited into, a thin film transistor (TFT) array. OLED technology is basically an LED using organic compounds as an emissive electroluminescent layer. The organic compound uses generated light in response to the passage of an electric current.

Techopedia Explains Active-Matrix OLED

The TFTs act as switching devices to actively maintain the pixel state while addressing other pixels. The two common TFT backplane technologies used are the non-crystalline thin-film silicon and the polycrystalline silicon. These technologies aid in the fabricating of active matrix backplanes for flexible plastic substrates. Flexible plastic substrates are crucial in producing flexible AMOLED displays.

The AMOLED technology provides a higher refresh rate than its passive-matrix counterpart and consumes less power. This advantage gives it an edge to be the technology of choice in the manufacture of mobile devices. Other advantages are:

  1. Higher perceived luminance.
  2. Higher contrast ratio, although reading in direct sunlight may pose a problem.
  3. Wider viewing angle compared to conventional displays.

One major disadvantage with the AMOLED is the limited lifetime of the organic compound used. The blue OLEDs reduce to half their brightness after 14,000 hours. This is compared to conventional LCDs, which usually dim to half after 25,000 to 40,000 hours.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.