Foldable Smartphones are slowly coming into the trend now, and being a tech nerd I was also very curious to know on how this amazing technology works.
So basically flexible displays are based on OLED Displays using something called electronic paper technology. Flexible displays using electronic paper technology commonly use Electrophoretic or Electro-wetting technologies. However, each type of flexible electronic paper varies in specification due to different implementation techniques by different companies.
The flexible electronic paper display technology co-developed by Arizona State University and HP employs a manufacturing process developed by HP Labs called Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL).
The screens are made by layering stacks of semi-conductor materials and metals between pliable plastic sheets. The stacks need to be perfectly aligned and stay that way. Alignment proves difficult during manufacturing when heat during manufacturing can deform the materials and when the resulting screen also needs to remain flexible. The SAIL process gets around this by ‘printing’ the semiconductor pattern on a fully composed substrate, so that the layers always remain in perfect alignment. The limitation of the material the screen is based on allows only a finite amount of full rolls, hence limiting its commercial application as a flexible display.There are even more advanced ways of implementing this technology and brands like Samsung have been doing that , but there’s not enough transparency on the R&D part.
Flexible Displays come with their own set of issues but currently they might feel overpriced and too fragile for regular use , but in due course of time this technology will make it’s way to the masses.