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Steven Van Slyke

Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)

U.S. Patent No. 4,539,507
Inducted in 2018
Born July 19, 1956

Steven Van Slyke and Ching Wan Tang pioneered the organic light emitting diode, or OLED, an advance in flat-screen displays found in computers, cell phones, and televisions that provides increased power efficiency, longer battery life, and improved display quality.

Van Slyke launched his 30-year career at Eastman Kodak in 1979, when he and Tang began developing OLED technology. OLEDs can be used wherever LCDs are used. They are thinner, lighter, provide superior brightness and color, and offer ultra-fast response time for functions such as refreshing and on-off switching. Unlike LCDs that rely on a backlight that passes through color filters to produce light, OLED screens utilize luminescent organic materials to make their own light.

The first OLED product was a display for a car stereo, commercialized by Pioneer in 1997.

Kodak’s EasyShare LS633 digital camera, introduced in 2003, was the first consumer electronic product incorporating a full-color OLED display. The first television featuring an OLED display, produced by Sony, entered the market in 2008. Today, Samsung uses OLEDs in all of its smartphones, and LG manufactures large OLED screens for premium TVs. Other companies currently incorporating OLED technology include Apple, Google, Facebook, Motorola, Sony, HP, Panasonic, Konica, Lenovo, Huawei, BOE, Philips and Osram. The OLED display market is expected to grow to $57 billion in 2026.

Van Slyke earned his B.A. in chemistry from Ithaca College, and his M.S. in materials science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. A leading authority on OLED technology, he holds 40 patents related to OLED materials and device architecture and has received numerous awards, including the 2004 American Chemical Society Award for Team Innovation, an honor he shares with Tang. Today, Van Slyke is Chief Technology Officer at Kateeva, which is pioneering inkjet printing technology enabling high-volume manufacturing of flexible and large-size OLEDs.

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