Although much university research is focused on fundamental scientific projects, often a fundamental discovery can lead to commercial applications. Just five years after it appeared in a 1998 issue of Nature magazine, a research result from a Princeton University lab in collaboration with researchers at the University of Southern California found its way into commercial products and today is commonly used in consumer electronic devices.
The research result involved a trick of quantum mechanics that could produce highly efficient light emission from organic phosphorescent materials. The practical implication was that inexpensive and high-quality video displays could be made to require very little battery power compared with those made from other materials.
Princeton licensed the finding to Universal Display Corp. of Ewing, N.J., which developed it further, and today organic light-emitting materials are common in smart phone screens and other devices.
The story of Universal Display Corp. illustrates how rapidly a technology can move from the lab to consumer devices. The Office of Technology Licensing is dedicated to helping with this transition.