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When Green AV is Matter of Life or Death

South Korean shutdown of LG OLED display production begs the question of green AV in a recent AV Nation podcasts

Tim Albright

So far, 2015 has been an intriguing year for displays.

First there was International CES (the Consumer Electronic Show). The annual glut of consumer electronics in Las Vegas brought the introduction of a relatively new display technology: the quantum dot display.

That was soon followed by the shutdown of the LG OLED display production line by the South Korean government. The quantum dot (QD) displays use nanocrystals to create this new type of light source display. The nanocrystals’ color is directly related to their size. Large (5 nm) crystals are in the red spectrum while smaller ones (1.5 nm) have a purple hue.

The other difference is the production process. Currently the QD displays are using contact printing. To simplify it, think about a dot matrix or 3D printer with nanocrystals in them that print onto the backplane.

Which leads us to the LG story. The South Korean government shut down LG’s OLED production line because of a nitrogen gas leak. This accident was reported to have killed two employees. OLED displays currently require a carrier gas. Some people use argon or nitrogen.

This is where some of the dangers in the production process come into play. There are some looking into the transfer-printing, which would not need a carrier gas layer. Until that has been perfected and made profitable we are left with this argon or nitrogen situation.

Watch the AVWeek podcast about LG’s OLED line:

In talking with Chris Jaynes from Mersive Technology on AVWeek 178, this renewed the idea of Green AV. This is not the Green AV of power consumption, automation, and light harvesting.

Yes, those are important. However, I’m talking about being concerned with how our products are made and the impact that process has on the environment and the workers who make them.

We have long ago done away with lead-based solder. The electronics industry has been under a fair amount of fire over certain production processes at companies like Foxcon that they have remedied. We have asked manufacturers to reduce their power consumption in the search for “green” and they have listened.

It may be worth looking at the environmental impact of how our displays are created and make certain we are comfortable with it.