OLED's are the most advanced light source as of today. Flat and soft lighting with high efficiency and outstanding light quality is created between thin films or glass panels.
This kinetic OLED installation was created in collaboration between Philips and WHITEvoid. By moving the OLED modules, new forms can be created every time.
A new era for lamp and light fixture design started with the organic light-emitting diodes: OLED modules are lightweight and very thin, can be dimmed and provide light in many colors immediately after being turned on. The light panels are either milky or even transparent and flexible in the off state. It is not surprising that these opportunities will inspire designers and architects to new creations. OLED's blow up categories for lamp and light fixture that have existed for centuries. Organic light-emitting diodes unite both categories: Until now one needed a lamp, in which a light bulb could be installed and sometimes a screen to avoid the blinding light. But as of today only a thin foil is necessary, which spans an entire room.
Walls, windows and furniture can be illuminated or become part of a dynamic lighting show. Never before in the history of artificial lighting was the opportunity in reach to illuminate large and arbitrarily shaped surfaces evenly and to have a free hand with regards to brightness and color. But so far, there is no readily available light wallpaper or windows, which shine at night with diffused light or roll-up screens. However, the current applications announce the next development. We find OLED's as ultra-thin displays of smart phones, in form of illuminated shelves or suspended ceiling panels.
A lamp that thinks for itself: As soon as the sensors register a person in front of the OLED lamp, some of the OLED's will turn off. The mirror image of the viewer will appear in a frame of light.
Current designer lights mostly have an elegant technical appearance: the OLED panels are often combined with aluminum (whose soft and dull surface corresponds well with the light of OLED's) and forms small wings, which are arranged around a delicate structure. The low weight of the components, the extremely thin material and the non-dazzling light add up to an optical impression that has never existed before. Because the organic diodes develop little heat, they are ideal for sensitive locations, such as wooden furniture. In contrast to other lamps, the OLED surfaces are always part of the design and donâ€™t have to emit their light from a hidden area.
Nowadays several light fixtures are still being combined with brighter LED's in order to create luminous flux that goes beyond mere atmospheric lighting. It should not go unmentioned that the market and the available lighting solutions for domestic use are still manageable and that due to the high prices not too many purchases are being expected in the near future.
Energy efficiency and operating principle
OLED's generate light through electroluminescence from organic semiconductor components. When voltage is applied a gentle and non-blinding light is created, that you can look directly into. The light can be dimmed and hardly creates any heat so that OLED's can be incorporated well into furniture or objects that are heat sensitive (e.g. art objects). The white light emission can be adjusted between warm white (2700 K) and cool white (6500 K). Colors from the RGB spectrum can be generated as well. Low power consumption, a long service life and the lack of IR and UV radiation make the mercury-free OLED's a serious and promising technology.
A pretty word game stands behind this OLED lamp: an allusion to the Heraclitean phrase "panta rhei", which means "everything flows" and at the same time a tribute to the majestic manta ray. Various choreographies can be played for the organic, silent movements.
This development is all the more amazing when you consider that only a few years have passed since the introduction of suitable LED's in everyday lighting. OLED's consist of one or several thin organic layers between two conductors. Today mainly thin layers of glass are used as substrate, but in the future the use of plastic films will increase flexibility, which, until recently, appeared unthinkable. The future applications, where whole windows or walls can be illuminated broadly and transparently ("light wallpaper"), show a critical difference to previous bulbs: OLED's are pure surface lights, while incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes with glaring bright objects of limited extent are spot lights.
New fields of application in practice
The automaker Audi relies on the technological advantage of OLED technology. Not only is the TT series now equipped with OLED taillights, but an entire conference room in Ingolstadt, in collaboration with Philips and the designer Michael Hammer, is being illuminated with wafer-thin ceiling lights. Several dozen light panels were combined with large and very thin ceiling light fixtures, which look almost like they are floating. The light does not blind and still produces a light stream of 64,000 lumen. Since this seemed a little bit too much for the people in charge, a slight dimming of the lights extended the expected life span to 17,000 hours.This is somewhat less compared with LED's - but considerably higher compared to a regular light bulb. Due to the high efficiency hardly any heat accumulates, even with such an enormous light performance, which considerably reduces the cooling requirements during summer.
When switched off, this OLED lamp looks like a sculpture made of glass and metal. When switched on, it turns into a brilliant MÃ¶bius loop. Starting in 2014, this OLED lamp should go into series production.
The communication technology also relies on OLED technology. The COMEDD of Fraunhofer has recently developed interactive data glasses, which enables you to control data contents with your eyes â€“ without the use of hands or language.