Samsung Display was currently developing a new under panel camera technology for its customer Apple to hide the Face ID under the display in the next iPhone, TheElec has learned.
Samsung Display’s technology is expected to apply first to Samsung Electronics’ foldable phones launching next year, followed by application to the Pro lineup on the iPhone 15 series, sources said.
Apple is planning to apply hole-display and under panel Face ID on the iPhone 15 Pro models, they said.
Hole-display has a hole on the panel where the front camera is. The technology is already widely in use by Samsung for its Galaxy series while Apple is expected to apply them to the iPhone 14 series launching later this year.
Apple currently has various sensors, including the Face ID, on its iPhones on a notch at the top of the phones.
Under panel Face ID will hide the sensor when it is not in use. This works in essence exactly like the under panel camera, or UPC, technology that Samsung Display has applied to the panels of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 that launched last year.
Samsung Display was collaborating with Canada’s OTI Lumionics for its new under panel camera technology, which will include a metal patterning layer that uses cathode mask materials.
In OLED panels, the light emitted from the emission layer at the bottom goes through the cathode at the top __ this is called top emission.
The cathode needs to be transparent for under panel camera technology to work. The cathode is patterned so that it can be transparent while being able to absorb light from the outside at the same time.
OTI Lumionics has its own technology that can use fine metal masks to deposit cathode patterning materials. An open metal mask is then used to deposit the cathode that avoids being deposited on the patterning material.
Mg-Ag cathode material is deposited on the empty space where there is no cathode patterning materials.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics is planning to use laser drilling on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for the under panel camera, just like it did for the Fold 3.
Apple has decided not to use laser drilling and is looking for alternative options.
LG Display is also developing its own under panel camera technology with the aim to increase the light transmittance rate of the hole to over 40% after 2024.