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Posted: January 15, 2010
First Commercial OLED Panel for General Lighting
(Nanowerk News) Osram Opto Semiconductors has introduced a new OLED panel light for professional lighting applications. The product is the first light source made of plastic to be available commercially. The extremely thin OLED panel delivers warm white light with a color temperature matching that of an incandescent lamp but uses only half as much energy. OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) consist of thin organic layers that light when an electric current flows through them. The extremely thin and ultra lightweight surface-emitting panels open up totally new possibilities in lighting, such as lighted room partitions or truly novel lamp designs.
Developed in cooperation with Siemens Corporate Technology, the Orbeos round OLED panel from Siemens’ Osram subsidiary is eight centimeters in diameter, only 2.1 millimeters thick, and weighs just 24 grams. Its brightness level is usually 1,000 candela per square meter, and its efficiency of 25 lumen per watt already exceeds that of modern halogen lamps. Orbeos has a lifespan of roughly 5,000 hours, about five times that of incandescent lamps. The OLED panel light is intended for applications in the premium segment, such as designer lamps, architecture, or hotels and shops. This novel light source is currently priced at €250 per panel. For the mass market, manufacturers first have to further improve the service life of OLEDs and develop cost-effective mass production processes.
OLEDs are attractive for a number of reasons: They are efficient; they can be used to manufacture extremely thin, very lightweight lamps; they deliver non-glare light; and, as surface-emitting panels, they don’t require additional heat sinks — unlike LEDs. Because their active layers are less than half a micrometer thick, OLEDs can also be used to manufacture flexible lighting panels if the glass substrate used today is successfully replaced with flexible substrates. Researchers are also working on transparent OLEDs that would make it possible in the future for windows to also serve as lamps, for example. Today OLEDs are used primarily in electronic devices as displays. The Osram panel is the first commercial OLED light source for premium general lighting.
Osram, which is part of the Industry sector of Siemens, developed the technical foundations of the OLED panel as part of the “Organic Phosphorescent Lamps for Applications in the Lighting Market” project (OPAL), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).