Research may lead to stretchable, bendable smartphones

UCLA scientists create foldable, twistable OLED material

Imagine if your cell phone had a transparent screen that you could stretch to twice its normal size so you could see bigger pictures and have a bigger space to type on.

It's a scenario that could one day be a reality, according to scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Researchers at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science reported this week that they have created a light-emitting electronic display that can be stretched, folded and twisted, while remaining lit and snapping back into its original shape.

OLED technology is used today in smartphones and even some televisions. The new stretchable material could change the form of smartphones and could lead to wallpaper-like lighting, minimally invasive medical tools and clothing with electronics integrated into them.

"Our new material is the building block for fully stretchable electronics for consumer devices," said Qibing Pei, a UCLA professor of materials science and engineering and principal investigator on the research. "Along with the development of stretchable thin-film transistors, we believe that fully stretchable interactive OLED displays that are as thin as wallpaper will be achieved in the near future. And this will give creative electronics designers new dimensions to exploit."

The new material is a single layer of an electro-luminescent polymer blend sandwiched between a pair of new transparent elastic composite electrodes, according to UCLA.

These electrodes are made of silver nanowires inlaid into a rubbery polymer, which allows the device to be used at room temperatures.

The university also reported that, during testing, the material was stretched 1,000 times, extending it 30% beyond its original shape and size, and it still continued to work at a "high efficiency." The material also could be stretched to more than twice its original size and remain functional.

It reportedly also can be folded at a 180-degree angle and twisted in multiple directions.

This could be a useful invention for the electronics industry, said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "The stretchable and bendable screen is a big step into a world we've only seen via science fiction movies so far," said Olds. "This is a world where information is displayed on surfaces that move and morph to accommodate the situation. While the reality probably won't be quite as slick as what we see at the cineplex, UCLA's work is a sign of what's coming."

He added that there are many unanswered questions, such as how image quality will be affected at different sizes and the material's durability.

"Questions like that are natural when a technology is this young," he said. "There is quite a bit of competing research in this space these days, with many labs and commercial companies working on these same concepts. I'd expect to see a lot more of these announcements and demonstrations in the coming months. But I wouldn't expect to see commercial products for a couple of years."

This article, Research may lead to stretchable, bendable smartphones, was originally published at

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...


Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...

CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in