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AMOLED used in Samsung Galaxy Note
Magnified image of the AMOLED screen on the Nexus One smartphone using the RGBG system of the PenTile matrix family

AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions. electroluminescent material, and active matrix refers to the technology behind the addressing of pixels.

As of 2012, AMOLED technology is used in mobile phones, media players and digital cameras,[1] and continues to make progress toward low-power, low-cost and large-size (for example, 40-inch) applications.[2][3][4]


  • Design 1
  • Future development 2
  • Comparison to other technologies 3
  • Marketing terms 4
    • Super AMOLED 4.1
    • Super AMOLED Advanced 4.2
    • Super AMOLED Plus 4.3
    • HD Super AMOLED 4.4
    • HD Super AMOLED Plus 4.5
    • Full HD Super AMOLED 4.6
    • Future 4.7
    • Comparison 4.8
  • Uses 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Schematic of an active-matrix OLED display

An AMOLED display consists of an active matrix of OLED pixels that generate light (luminescence) upon electrical activation that have been deposited or integrated onto a thin-film-transistor (TFT) array, which functions as a series of switches to control the current flowing to each individual pixel.[5]

Typically, this continuous current flow is controlled by at least two TFTs at each pixel (to trigger the luminescence), with one TFT to start and stop the charging of a storage capacitor and the second to provide a voltage source at the level needed to create a constant current to the pixel, thereby eliminating the need for the very high currents required for passive-matrix OLED operation.[6]

TFT flexible AMOLED displays.[7]

Future development

Manufacturers have developed in-cell touch panels, integrating the production of capacitive sensor arrays in the AMOLED module fabrication process. In-cell sensor AMOLED fabricators include AU Optronics and Samsung. Samsung has marketed their version of this technology as "Super AMOLED". Researchers at DuPont used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to optimize coating processes for a new solution-coated AMOLED display technology that is cost and performance competitive with existing chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technology. Using custom modeling and analytical approaches, they developed short- and long-range film-thickness control and uniformity that is commercially viable at large glass sizes.[8]

Comparison to other technologies

AMOLED displays provide higher refresh rates than their passive-matrix OLED counterparts, improving response time often to under a millisecond, and they consume significantly less power.[9] This advantage makes active-matrix OLEDs well suited for portable electronics, where power consumption is critical to battery life.

The amount of power the display consumes varies significantly depending on the colour and brightness shown. As an example, one commercial QVGA OLED display consumes 0.3 watts while showing white text on a black background, but more than 0.7 watts showing black text on a white background, while an LCD may consume only a constant 0.35 watts regardless of what is being shown on screen.[10] Because the black pixels actually turn off, AMOLED also has contrast ratios that are significantly better than LCD.

AMOLED displays may be difficult to view in direct sunlight compared with LCDs because of their reduced maximum brightness.[11] Samsung's Super AMOLED technology addresses this issue by reducing the size of gaps between layers of the screen.[12][13] Additionally, PenTile technology is often used to allow for a higher resolution display while requiring fewer subpixels than would otherwise be needed, often resulting in a display less sharp and more grainy compared with a non-pentile display with the same resolution.

The organic materials used in AMOLED displays are very prone to degradation over a relatively short period of time, resulting in color shifts as one color fades faster than another, image persistence, or burn-in.[14][15]

Current demand for AMOLED screens is high, and, due to supply shortages of the Samsung-produced displays, certain models of HTC smartphones have been changed to use next-generation LCD displays from the Samsung and Sony joint-venture SLCD in the future.[16]

Flagship smartphones sold as of 2011–12 use either Super AMOLED or IPS panel premium LCD. Super AMOLED displays, such as the one on the Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III have often been compared to IPS panel premium LCDs, found in the iPhone 4S, HTC One X, and Nexus 4.[17][18][19] For example, according to ABI Research the AMOLED display found in the Motorola Moto X draws just 92mA during bright conditions and 68mA while dim.[20]On the other hand, compare with the IPS, the yield rate of Amoled is low, the cost is also higher.

Marketing terms


Super AMOLED is Samsung's term for an AMOLED display with an integrated digitizer, meaning that the layer that detects touch is integrated into the screen, rather than overlaid on top of it. According to Samsung, Super AMOLED reflects one-fifth as much sunlight compared to the first generation AMOLED.[21][22] The display technology itself is not changed. Super AMOLED is part of the Pentile matrix family. It is sometimes abbreviated SAMOLED.

For the Samsung Galaxy S III, which reverted to Super AMOLED instead of the pixelation-free conventional RGB (non-PenTile) Super AMOLED Plus of its predecessor Samsung Galaxy S II, the S III's larger screen size encourages users to hold the phone further from their face to obscure the PenTile effect.[23]

Super AMOLED Advanced

Super AMOLED advanced is a term marketed by Motorola to describe a brighter display than Super AMOLED screens, but also a higher resolution – qHD or 960 × 540 for Super AMOLED Advanced compared to WVGA or 800 × 480 for Super AMOLED. It also is 25% more energy efficient. Super AMOLED Advanced features PenTile, which sharpens subpixels in between pixels to make a higher resolution display, but by doing this, some picture quality is lost.[24] This display equips the Motorola Droid RAZR.[25]

Super AMOLED Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S II, with a Super AMOLED Plus screen

Super AMOLED Plus, first introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Droid Charge smartphones, is a branding from Samsung where the PenTile RGBG pixel matrix (2 subpixels) used in Super AMOLED displays has been replaced with a traditional RGB RGB (3 subpixels) arrangement typically used in LC displays. This variant of AMOLED is brighter and therefore more energy efficient than Super AMOLED displays[26] and produces a sharper, less grainy image because of the increased number of subpixels. In comparison to AMOLED and Super AMOLED displays, the Super AMOLED Plus displays are even more energy efficient and brighter. However, Samsung cited screen life and costs by not using Plus on the Galaxy S II's successor, the Samsung Galaxy S III.[18]


Galaxy Note II subpixels representation, based on 400X image of the Note II display[27]
The Galaxy Nexus, with an HD Super AMOLED screen[28]

HD Super AMOLED is a branding from Samsung for an HD-resolution (>1280×720) Super AMOLED display. The first device to use it was the Samsung Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S III both implement the HD Super AMOLED with a PenTile RGBG-matrix (2 subpixels/pixel), while the Galaxy Note II uses an RBG matrix (3 subpixels/pixel) but not in the standard 3 stripe arrangement.[27]

HD Super AMOLED Plus

A variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tizen OS 1 was benchmarked using a non-pentile HD Super AMOLED Plus screen in 2012.[29]

Full HD Super AMOLED

As featured on the Samsung Galaxy S4[30] and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It has the broadest color gamut of any mobile display of up to 97% of the Adobe RGB color space, hence making it a wide-gamut display.[31][32]


Future displays exhibited from 2011 to 2013 by Samsung have shown flexible, 3D, unbreakable, transparent Super AMOLED Plus displays using very high resolutions and in varying sizes for phones. These unreleased prototypes use a polymer as a substrate removing the need for glass cover, a metal backing, and touch matrix, combining them into one integrated layer.[33]

So far, Samsung plans on branding the newer displays as Youm.[34]

Also planned for the future are 3D stereoscopic displays that use eye tracking (via stereoscopic front-facing cameras) to provide full resolution 3D visuals.


Below is a mapping table of marketing terms versus resolutions and sub-pixel types. Note how the pixel density relates to choices of sub-pixel type.

Term Resolution Size (inches) PPI Pixel Layout Used in
AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen 640×360 3.2 229 RGBG PenTile Nokia C6-01
Super AMOLED 800×480 4.0 233 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy S
Super AMOLED 800×480 4.0 233 RGB S-Stripe Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
Super AMOLED 800×480 4.0 252 RGB S-Stripe Samsung Galaxy Golden
Super AMOLED Advanced 960×540 4.3 256 RGBG PenTile Motorola Droid RAZR
Super AMOLED 960×540 4.3 256 RGB S-Stripe Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Super AMOLED Plus 800×480 4.3 (4.27) 218 RGB stripe Samsung Galaxy S II
HD Super AMOLED 1280×800 5.3 (5.29) 285 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy Note
HD Super AMOLED 1280×720 5.0 295 RGB S-Stripe BlackBerry Z30
HD Super AMOLED 1280×720 4.7 (4.65) 316 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy Nexus
HD Super AMOLED 1280×720 4.7 (4.65) 316 RGB S-Stripe Motorola Moto X (1st gen)
HD Super AMOLED 1280×720 4.8 306 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy S III
HD Super AMOLED 1280×720 5.6 (5.55) 267 RGB S-Stripe Samsung Galaxy Note II
HD Super AMOLED Plus 1280×800 7.7 197 RGB stripe Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Full HD Super AMOLED 1920×1080 5.0 (4.99) 441 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy S4
Full HD Super AMOLED 1920×1080 5.2 423 RGBG PenTile Motorola Moto X (2nd gen)
Full HD Super AMOLED 1920×1080 5.1 432 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy S5
Full HD Super AMOLED 1920×1080 5.7 388 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy Note 3
WQ HD Super AMOLED 2560×1440 5.7 515 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy Note 4
WQXGA Super AMOLED 2560×1600 8.4 359 RGBG PenTile Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
WQXGA Super AMOLED 2560×1600 10.5 287 RGB S-Stripe Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5


Commercial devices using AMOLED include:

Portable music players
Games consoles
Music production hardware
Digital cameras


  1. ^ Lee, Hyunkoo; Park, Insun; Kwak, Jeonghun; Yoon, Do Y.; Kallmann, Changhee Lee (2010). "Improvement of electron injection in inverted bottom-emission blue phosphorescent organic light emitting diodes using zinc oxide nanoparticles". Applied Physics Letters 96: 153306.  
  2. ^ Kim, Yang Wan; Kwak, Won Kyu; Lee, Jae Yong; Choi, Wong Sik; Lee, Ki Yong; Kim, Sung Chul; Yoo, Eui Jin (2009). "40 Inch FHD AM-OLED Display with IR Drop Compensation Pixel Circuit". SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers 40: 85.  
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  6. ^ Lin, Chih-Lung; Chen, Yung-Chih. "A Novel LTPS-TFT Pixel Circuit Compensating for TFT Threshold-Voltage Shift and OLED Degradation for AMOLED". IEEE Electron Device Letters 28: 129.  
  7. ^ Sarma, Kalluri R.; Chanley, Charles; Dodd, Sonia R.; Roush, Jared; Schmidt, John; Srdanov, Gordana; Stevenson, Matthew; Wessel, Ralf; Innocenzo, Jeffrey; Yu, Gang; O'Regan, Marie B.; MacDonald, W. A.; Eveson, R.; Long, Ke; Gleskova, Helena; Wagner, Sigurd; Sturm, James C. (2003). "Active-matrix OLED using 150°C a-Si TFT backplane built on flexible plastic substrate (Proceedings Paper)". SPIE Proceedings 5080: 180.   [1]
  8. ^ Reid Chesterfield, Andrew Johnson, Charlie Lang, Matthew Stainer, and Jonathan Ziebarth, "Solution-Coating Technology for AMOLED Displays", Information Display Magazine, January 2011.
  9. ^ Suyko, Alan. "Oleds Ready For The Mainstream." Electronics News (2009): 20. Associates Programs Source Plus. Web. 9 Dec. 2011.
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  15. ^ US 7352345, Chun-huai Li, "Driving apparatus and method for light emitting diode display", issued 2008-04-01 
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  20. ^ Google/Motorola Mobility Display a Bright Efficient Future, ABI Research
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External links

  • Craig Freudenrich. Types of OLEDs: Passive and Active Matrix at HowStuffWorks
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