Technology | Jul 16, 2010

White OLED Outlook Brightens with Efficiency Breakthrough

GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), GE Lighting and Konica Minolta (KM) have achieved a major breakthrough that brings the companies closer to making high-efficiency organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting devices a reality. GE and KM scientists have demonstrated illumination-quality white OLEDs using “solution-coatable” materials that are essential for producing OLEDs at a low cost.

Anil Duggal, GE's OLED lighting technology leader, announced the efficiency milestone this week during a presentation at the International Symposium on the Science and Technology of Light Sources being held in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

”GE and KM have done what many in the OLED research community thought was not possible,” noted Duggal. “We have produced high-performance white OLED lighting devices with a commercially viable lifetime using ‘solution coating’ rather than ‘vacuum coating’ processes. This allows us to make use of the high volume roll-to-roll manufacturing infrastructure that already has been perfected in the printing industry.”

GE and KM plan to manufacture OLEDs using high-speed, roll-to-roll processes rather than the vacuum-based batch processes used by companies in the OLED display industry. Roll-to-roll processing is key to making OLEDs commercially viable for general lighting applications. Solution, or wet coating, is the highest throughput manufacturing method for coating the organic layers that are the essence of an OLED lighting device.

John Strainic, global product general manager for GE Lighting, the business that will commercialize GE OLEDs, added, “This type of coating is ideally suited for roll-to-roll processing and critical to enabling the production of OLEDs at high speeds. In simple terms, this latest achievement means we’re starting to see the OLED light at the end of the tunnel.”

Researchers and product development teams from GE and KM have been working together on OLED technology since 2007. GE’s technology relationship with KM, a world leader in imaging products, has helped to accelerate the development of OLED lighting technology.

In addition to hitting a new efficiency milestone, the teams continue to make steady progress in the lifetime and lighting quality of OLED lighting devices produced from roll-to-roll manufacturing.

What are OLEDs?
OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes that illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They represent the next evolution in lighting products. Their widespread design capabilities will provide an entirely different way for people to light their homes or businesses.

Moreover, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today with less electrical power.

The two companies have plans to introduce their first flexible OLED lighting product in 2011.

About GE Global Research:
GE Global Research is one of the world's most diversified industrial research labs, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India, Shanghai, China and Munich, Germany. Visit GE Global Research at www.ge.com/research.

About GE – Appliances & Lighting:
GE – Appliances & Lighting spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting, systems and services for commercial, industrial and residential use. Technology innovation and the company's ecomaginationSM initiative enable GE – Appliances & Lighting to aggressively bring to market products and solutions that help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. General Electric (NYSE: GE), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram®, Profile™, GE®, Hotpoint®, Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Tetra®, Vio™ and Immersion® commercial brands. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com.

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