Pixel density is one of the key factors for screen quality and is used as a measure of the sharpness of a display. The Sony Xperia 1 II and its 4K screen deliver 643 pixels per square inch (PPI) and will deliver the sharpest smartphone screen in 2020.
Now researchers from Samsung and Stanford have an OLED display with a pixel density of around 10,000 PPI (h / t: IEEE spectrum). In other words, even a 6-inch display with a resolution of 32K (30,720 x 17,280) wouldn’t keep up and peak at almost 6,000 PPI.
- Samsung and Stanford researchers created an OLED screen with 10,000 PPI.
- This offers a higher pixel density than even a 6-inch display with 32K resolution.
The researchers used an OLED film to shine white light onto two reflective layers, one being a silver film and the other a “meta-surface”. This meta-surface has a “forest of microscopic columns” that serve as pixels with a size of 2.4 micrometers.
The team notes that light is reflected back and forth between these layers. This structure enables “the double luminescence efficiency of standard color-filtered white OLED displays as well as a higher color purity”. Check out a picture below that shows the screen technology.
According to the researchers, VR could be a suitable use case for this 10,000 PPI display. It definitely sounds like an interesting use for the technology then, and it would be an exponential leap over existing consumer headsets. For example, those like the Valve Index and the HTC Vive Cosmos offer PPIs well below 800.
It’s also worth noting that a 10,000 PPI screen would likely require a lot of VR and general computing power that consumers don’t yet have. For example, the latest and greatest RTX 3080 graphics card reaches 8 KB. This is equivalent to 275 PPI for a 32-inch 8K monitor.
We also wouldn’t rely on seeing a 10,000 PPI OLED display on smartphones anytime soon. In addition to the horsepower requirements, all of these pixels would likely result in massive battery drain.
However, research by the Samsung and Stanford teams finds that 20,000 PPI is actually the theoretical limit for the technology. However, you find that if you shrink those pixels below a micron, brightness is a big tradeoff.