Universal Display Corporation announced that the Company has successfully demonstrated a record-breaking white OLED with a power efficacy of 102 lumens per watt (lm/W) at 1000 cd/m2 using its proprietary, high-efficiency phosphorescent OLED technology.
Only last month they announced a new record of 72 lm/W but since then they have continued to make significant advances by achieving this latest milestone towards commercialization. White OLEDS can potentially offer significant energy savings and environmental benefits to end users around the world.
The UNEP (United Nations Environmental programme) states that lighting can account for 15-20 per cent of total electricity use - one of the largest causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) reduce electricity use by a minimum of 75 per cent compared to a standard incandescent bulb but they contain small amounts of mercury which can be harmful to the environment and humans. OLEDs are environmentally friendly and could save worldwide well over $20 billion in electric costs and over 9 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions from the US alone by 2016.
Interest in OLED lighting is growing rapidly. In 2007, Australia was the first country to mandate that no incandescent bulbs will be sold by 2012. The USA passed a bill later in the year stating that by 2020, bulbs must be 70 percent more efficient than they are today. In Japan the government has initiated a policy of fostering low energy lighting. In early April this year, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Akira Amari, announced that residential use of incandescent light bulbs would be ended by 2012. According to market research firm Fuji Keizai, OLED lighting will cross paths and surpass incandescent light bulbs as a source of lighting in Japan's homes in 2011.
Through the use of Universal Display's PHOLED technology, power-efficient white OLEDs have the potential to reduce energy consumption dramatically and to lower the amount of by-product heat, which creates additional energy and environmental burdens.
Combining these important 'green' features with a very thin, lightweight and durable form factor, white OLEDs offer significant new lighting design opportunities. White OLEDs are also readily color tunable, from cool to warm whites, with extremely pleasing white emission that simulates healthful, natural lighting. Compared to inorganic LEDs, white OLEDs are excellent diffuse emitters with the potential to be significantly more cost-effective in high-volume production. Moreover, OLEDs are a cool source of light, in contrast to inorganic LEDs where the removal of heat remains a significant challenge.
For the first time, white OLEDs have surpassed the power efficacy of the two incumbent indoor lighting technologies - incandescent bulbs are less than 15 lm/W and most fluorescent lamps are 60 - 90 lm/W.
Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through its Solid-State Lighting initiative, Universal Display's 102 lm/W milestone is a significant achievement toward the DOE's roadmap goal of a 150 lm/W commercial OLED light source by 2015.
"Reaching 100 lumens per watt is a tremendous accomplishment for our company and the industry," said Steven V. Abramson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Display. "Through this record milestone, white OLEDs are moving a significant step closer to becoming a key participant in the $100 billion per year lighting industry."
Konica Minolta and General Electric with their combined resources hope to develop and and bring OLED devices for lighting applications to market by 2010.
Project Topless (Thin Organic Polymeric Light Emitting Semi-conductor Surfaces) is a three year £3.3M project sponsored by the UK government to 50%. It comprises a consortium of Thorn Lighting UK, Sumation UK and the University of Durham (Department of Physics and Chemistry) UK. The aim of the project is to produce a high quality white light generating single polymer, and efficient large area single pixel device architectures.
According to a report for the U.S. Department of Energy by Navigant Consulting, Inc, the annual lighting market is approximately $11.9 B - with $2.7 B for lamps and the remainder divided between fixtures, components (including ballasts and controls) and associated services. On a global basis, the market is estimated to be more than $100 B, with lamps representing over $20 B, according to Freedonia Group, Inc. In the midst of a push to ban incandescent bulbs and with fluorescent lamps having their own inherent limitations, the lighting industry is in transition. OLEDs have a prime opportunity to play an increasingly important role in this multi-billion dollar lighting market.