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OLED Design

Flat, fine, fascinating – OLEDs open up new dimensions in lighting design
Luminescent wallpaper which changes color at the touch of a button, or subtle lighting for the living room window. It sounds like a dream of the future. But leading lighting designers have already presented lighting objects like this at trade fairs. They are made possible by OLEDs – light emitting diodes which contain premium materials from EMD Performance Materials. It's clear: OLEDs are on the threshold of turning from 'eternally promising' into revolutionary lighting materials. It's worth taking a look at the latest developments.

OLEDs inspire visions. Osram, Philips, Konica Minolta, Panasonic – almost all renowned manufacturers are currently working flat out on the new technology for glare-free light sources. The Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein recognised the potential for a design revolution as early as 2006. "Lighting design for glass facades in architecture is conceivable, as is the use of filigree, sail-type lighting systems in workplaces."


At the "The Design Annual 2007" trade fair, Wettstein presented OLED lighting objects resulting from transfer benefits between technology and design: a shimmering green island arising from a dark floor plate, with plant-like lighting branches and luminescent bars embedded in the softly rolling landscape. The well known Lighting Designer Ingo Maurer sees OLED technology in the same way: "We believe that this is the future of light," said the famous light designer.

Luminescent curtains and furniture
In contrast to conventional lamps, in which electricity causes a filament or gas to light up, the electricity in OLEDs flows through ultra-fine organic layers – one hundred times thinner than a single hair. OLEDs consist of organic semiconductor small molecules or polymers which are applied to a base made from glass or flexible film. In contrast to LEDs, a point light source, OLEDs shine thanks to their laminary light, which radiates in a broad spectrum. In the future, it may even be possible to create luminescent wallpaper, curtains and furniture. The light objects designed with OLEDs by Ingo Maurer include a coffee table, a floating element which hangs from the ceiling in a wave movement ("Flying Future"), and the "Early Future" table lamp, created from light tiles to create a functional work of art.

A tenfold increase in lifespan
Due to their great energy saving potential, OLEDs also stand up to LEDs when it comes to efficiency. 100 lumen per Watt (lm/W) is already feasible in current laboratory testing. Their lifespan has increased tenfold in recent years. Marketable OLEDs are already available for purchase. EMD Performance Materials is constantly working on further improving the OLED chemistry for these innovative light sources and adapting them to the needs of the display and lighting industry. Besides efficiency and lifespan, a key factor is to provide ways to integrate OLEDs into future mass production processes.