Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are versatile, bright, efficient light sources. They're basically flat two dimensional lights made by placing a series of organic thin films between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, light is emitted. OLEDs are usually sandwiched between layers of protective clear plastic.
The General Electricâ€™s Ecomagination department has been developing OLEDs since 1999, and in 2003 they demonstrated a 2'x2' OLED light source. For a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on at GE check out this recent blog post by one the their EcoEngineers involved in OLED development. In the blog, there is a video that shows OLEDs being bent, spindled and attacked with hole punchers.
OLEDs can be made very thin and very power efficient. While currently not as efficient as fluorescent lights, OLEDs have a very high theoretical maximum efficiency. Due to their efficiency OLEDs donâ€™t produce waste heat and are thus a good source for illuminating things you donâ€™t want to get hot, like cell phone screens.
The manufacturing process for OLEDs can include printing dots of different organic compounds on a clear plastic carrier to create a matrix of pixels that emit different colored light. These systems can be used in television screens, computer displays, and cell phone screens.
At the Las Vegas CES 2007 Summit Sony showcased 11 inch (resolution 1,024 x 600) and 27 inch (full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080) OLED televisions claiming a million-to-one contrast ratio and total thickness of 5 mm. According to news reports, Sony plans to begin releasing TVs this year.
written by Ron Mertens, June 20, 2007
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