Today, the majority of energy produced is used for lighting buildings. This amount is greatly reduced when energy-saving lighting is used, such as OLEDs. In terms of energy efficiency, organic light diodes are far more advanced than the usual lighting systems. Not only because manufacturing organic components requires less energy than for non-organic components, but also because OLEDs are cold light sources and require less electricity due to their special technology. OLEDs are quick and efficient at converting electrical energy into light, without becoming heating up. In fact, they do not get any warmer than 30 degrees Celsius. As a result, they can be integrated into materials that never used to be associated with light sources, such as straw or paper, for example. The voltage carries no risk either – none of the Philips OLEDs require any more than 14 volts, with a maximum current of 500 mA.
Cars also benefit from new lighting technology
The features that attract designers and architects to OLEDs are the very features that are also winning fans within the car industry. For the first time ever, light applications can be fused together with the vehicle. This paves the way for such features as rear lights that need extremely little casing depth despite their unique shape, giving the car engineer more room for other on-board systems. Or simply more room in the boot, for example. Dreamlike car seats will soon become a reality as they become much more than a simple place to sit. With integrated OLEDs, seats will become sources of light in their own right. The use of Lumiblade OLEDs in the roof lining or on the doorsill provides designers and engineers with brand new ways to introduce lighting into the interior. To a great extent, the light source is concealed within the car, with unsightly, superfluous plastic light casing becoming a thing of the past. The first prototypes from Audi and Smart give us an idea of just how OLEDs can be used. In association with BASF at the last IAA in Frankfurt, carmaker Smart presented a concept study in which transparent OLEDs were combined with transparent solar cells in the roof. A sensational feeling for the passengers of the "smart forvision", with the OLEDs acting as sky lights by day and only lighting up when the door is opened.
Mass-market OLED manufacturing
At the moment, although manufacturing and purchasing OLEDs is more expensive than with usual light sources, technology is continually moving forward with increasing speed. When organic light diodes can be mass-produced – in the not too distant future – the consumer will be able to benefit from the lower prices resulting from increased production. Philips, for example, is already boasting an efficiency and lifespan of up to 45 lumen per watt and 15,000 hours respectively for their Lumiblade OLED brand. A quick comparison: Usual bulbs only achieve a lifespan of 1,500 hours. And that's nothing compared to their efficiency. The halo is also continually improving as a result of advances in technology and has already reached 4000 candela per square meter. Experts predict that indicators will improve two-fold every twelve months.
Fig. 3: OLED production at Lumiblade