OSRAM is intensifying its research and development work on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) with the aim of applying this technology also to general illumination. The lighting specialist is therefore expanding its activities in this technology of the future and adding to its existing business in OLED displays.
While the company continues to develop polymer-based solutions for displays, it is now also focusing on small-molecule technology for illumination applications with OLEDs. The objective is to take advantage of the company’s current development lead in this technology and harness it for the general illumination sector. OLEDs will be used in future not only in mobile terminals such as MP3 players and mobile phones but also as extremely thin light sources with large surface areas. OLEDs could be used for signage and information systems. In the medium term, OLEDs will pave the way for applications that up to now have been impossible. For example, they could be produced on transparent substrates or substrates with various contours or even flexible substrates; they may even one day be used as illuminated wallpaper or for low-profile high-definition wall-mounted screens.
White light is the main type of light for room lighting, so this is the main focus for research and development. Initial research findings indicate a luminous efficacy for white OLED elements of up to 25 lm/W with an appropriate current. Even at brightness levels that are matched to general lighting applications, these OLED elements achieve values of 18 lm/W. They are therefore already ahead of conventional light bulbs (12 lm/W) and almost on a par with halogen lamps.
These values have been achieved thanks to a sophisticated sequence of organic layers that produce much better luminous efficacy compared with previous versions. This new layer arrangement enables efficient area light sources and opens up new dimensions in lighting design.
Research and development work has been brought together in Regensburg. It focuses on the design and implementation of specific device architectures for OLEDs, on increasing their efficiency and lifespan and on scaling up to large areas. Experts are also involved in creating the right conditions for high-volume production.
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is taking part in the OLLA project (Organic LEDs for ICT & Lighting Applications) organised by the European Union and in the OLED Initiative 2015 organised by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.