It’s becoming ever-more clear how intelligent organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) may influence the way we light our work and home areas. For instance, they can be implemented to automatically dim or brighten an entire lighting system depending on the positioning of people in the area.
So, it was interesting to find out that research establishment IMEC and its project partners recently launched IMOLA—the Intelligent light Management for OLED on foil Applications. The project’s goal is to create large-area, OLED-based lighting modules with built-in intelligent light management. These systems will be used in future energy-efficient lighting, where the light intensity can be adjusted intelligently.
OLEDs, which are paper-thin, flexible, and lightweight, consist of organic materials that emit light in response to an electric current. One of their major advantages is they consume up to 70% less energy compared to conventional lighting.
Naturally, this makes OLED technology desirable technology for the next generation of energy-saving lighting. However, design challenges must be overcome before flexible large-area OLED lighting can reach the commercialisation stage. These involve the areas of driving electronics, power distribution, integration, and miniaturisation, as well as sensors and application intelligence.
In another OLED-related item of news, industry analyst NanoMarkets says that flexible glass will be a tremendous enabling technology for roll-to-roll (R2R) fabrication of high-performance e-paper and OLED displays. The declaration comes from its “Markets for Flexible Glass” report on substrate and encapsulation materials. Flexible glass offers the high transparency, robustness, and good barrier properties associated with glass, yet lowers manufacturing costs.
NanoMarkets point out that thin glass is an established way to reduce weight in products like windows. Ultra-thin flexible glass will continue this tradition for mobile displays, where low weight for laptops, tablets and smart phones is a key marketing factor.
In addition, NanoMarkets says that flexible glass will play an important role in weight reduction for solar panels, since it will eschew the need for special roofing support. However, while intrinsically flexible products such as rollable displays and conformable building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) panels offer good prospects for flexible glass, large sales of flexible glass for these products is probably three to five years away.
Early flexible glass products are likely to come at a premium price. On top of that, considerable manufacturing challenges still remain. In particular, firms marketing flexible glass must be able to demonstrate sufficient mechanical reliability for R2R fabrication. Moreover, flexible glass must offer high strength edges and surfaces as well as control of stresses during device manufacturing.