Thomas Edison would be pleased to know his incandescent electric light was a seed to, many years later, sprout and grow into OLED Lighting : Organic Light Emitting Diodes. This new technology changes the light bulb we and Mr. Edison are familiar with into a very thin and flexible sheet of bright, white light .
Organic LED Lighting technology is relatively new and the obvious light of the foreseeable future. OLED Lights occurs when current passes through thin films of light-emitting material. Because it is possible to make these lights very thin, transparent, and flexible, lighting designers are opened to entirely new creative possibilities. Organic LED Lighting is used almost exclusively today in the design of stunning displays but there are a number of manufacturers in the US and EU developing ways to create white light using this technology .
In addition to designers being inspired by Organic LED Lighting technology the environmentally conscious are as well. OLED is highly efficient and these objects of light do not contain mercury like CFL lamps causing fewer recycling issues. That would make the new OLED white light quite Green.
Professor Junji Kido of Yamagata University in Japan invented the first white OLED Light. Professor Kido has formed a new company, Organic Lighting, to expand his work with white OLED expecting to market equipment in early 2010. Organic Lighting continues to work on plans using OLED for emergency lighting in public locations.
Philips, the frontrunner in OLED Lighting research, has OLED panels available to purchase on-line. Offered are a variety of shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, and what Philips calls ‘free-shapes’) for a variety of uses (clothing, furniture, vehicles, jewelry, art, and any other use you might imagine). Philips plans to offer commercial products by 2010, and ultimately offering color panels the consumer can change (in 3-5 years) and ultimately flexible panels (in 5-8 years).
GE (General Electric) also very involved in OLED Lighting asks us to consider a light bulb of the future resembling wallpaper. GE, currently applying their knowledge to cell phones and television screens, will begin producing flexible OLED panels in 2010. Having already made advancements in light quality and brightness, GE researchers plan to use this technology for general lighting applications.
Ingo Maurer with OSRAM designed the first OLED lamp and befitting the technology is very futuristic in appearance. The lamp uses ten, thin OLED panels each measuring 132 X 33 millimeters. This remains a huge milestone in OLED Lighting technology taking these thin panels from the realm of the unusual to a very practical application.
Konica Minolta is another company interested in OLED Lighting enjoying great success in their endeavor. Research here has achieved efficiency in lumens and hours of life comparable to fluorescent lamps; this advancement brings OLED considerably closer to practical applications.
Kodak’s scientists originally discovered OLED materials in the 1970s. Since that time Kodak continues to research OLED applications for the automotive industry, consumer electronics, digital video technologies , industry, science, medicine, and telecommunications. A current goal of Kodak is to provide OLED Energy Star compliant technology to consumers.
The way we think about illumination is changing dramatically thanks to OLED Lighting . It’s a distinct light on the horizon and unlike any we’ve seen before.