Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is one of the world’s leading display technologies. Not to be confused with an LED-backlit liquid-crystal display (LCD), it involves the use of electroluminescent pixels. The pixels are made of an organic material. When exposed to an electrical current, they illuminate.

All OLEDs use organic, self-illuminating pixels. With that said, there are different OLED technologies available. Some displays use conventional OLED technology. Others use stacked OLED technology. What’s the difference between conventional and stacked OLEDs exactly?

What Is a Conventional OLED?

A conventional OLED is a type of display that uses a film-based layer of organic pixels. Known as the pixel layer, it’s sandwiched between two electrode layers. When turned on, an electrical current is applied to the pixel layer. And because the pixels consist of an electroluminescent organic material, they will illuminate when exposed to this electrical current.

What Is a Stacked OLED?

A stacked OLED is a type of display that uses the same underlying concept as conventional OLED technology but with a modification to the pixel layer. In a stacked OLED, the pixels are placed on top of each other. Stacked OLEDs receive their namesake from the way in which their pixels are arranged. The pixels are literally “stacked” on top of each other.

Differences Between Conventional and Stacked OLEDs

Conventional and stacked OLEDs are display technologies that leverage electroluminescent organic pixels to produce images. They are distinguished from LED-backlit LCDs by their self-illuminating pixels. LED-backlit LCDs require backlighting. They specifically use LED backlighting to illuminate their pixels. Conventional and stacked OLEDs don’t require backlighting. Instead, they feature pixels that, when exposed to an electrical current, illuminate themselves.

While they use similar technologies, conventional and stacked OLEDs aren’t the same. The difference lies in their pixel arrangement. In conventional OLEDs, the pixels are arranged side by side. Conventional OLEDs have a pixel layer in which the pixels are placed next to each other. In stacked OLEDs, the pixels are arranged on top of each other. Known as a stacked arrangement, it offers several advantages.

Stacked OLEDs typically have better color depth than conventional OLEDs. They also have a shorter pixel gap than conventional OLEDs. Stacked OLED is an emerging technology, though. While you can easily find displays powered by conventional OLED technology, you may struggle to find displays powered by stacked OLED technology.