Researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities believe the discovery could result in low-cost OLED displays in the future that could be widely produced using 3D printers by anyone at home, instead of by technicians in expensive microfabrication facilities.

The OLED display technology is based on the conversion of electricity into light using an organic material layer and are widely used in both large-scale devices such as television screens and monitors as well as handheld electronics such as smartphones.

“OLED displays are usually produced in big, expensive, ultra-clean fabrication facilities,” said Michael McAlpine, senior author of the study.

“We wanted to see if we could basically condense all of that down and print an OLED display on our table-top 3D printer, which was custom built and costs about the same as a Tesla Model S.”

The group had previously tried 3D printing OLED displays, but they struggled with the uniformity of the light-emitting...

Robert Heaton