Breakthroughs in Practical-Sized, High Quality OLED Light Panel Source


Photo of a rectangular white light panel containing grid lines being held by a person on the left (you only see one of the person's hands), shining the light onto a table to the right containing multi-colored balls.

General Electric Global Research has achieved a major breakthrough, developing a fully functional 2 ft. x 2 ft. light panel that produces more than 1200 lumens of quality white light with an efficacy of 15 lumens per watt. This device offers 50% better energy performance than their previous device, breaking two world records.

Photo of two men on the left looking at a bright white light panel on the right, with the man on the right pointing to the light panel with his left hand.

Anil Duggal, Manager of GE's Light Energy Conversion Program, and Mark Ginsberg, Senior Executive Board Member, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, are illuminated by the 2 ft. x 2 ft. OLED device at a demonstration held at DOE.

The goal of this three-year project was to develop an OLED light panel that delivers white light with brightness and quality comparable to a fluorescent source, and with an efficacy better than an incandescent source. Key challenges involved achieving the correct white color (critical to market acceptance), increasing OLED device efficiency and lifetime at high brightness, size, and fault tolerance. In the first year, GE developed a small area efficient white light device that produced 2 lumens of light with an efficacy of 4 lumens per watt, setting two world records. This achievement involved utilizing blue polymers developed by Cambridge Display Technologies to fabricate and evaluate device performance. One polymer was selected for white device development; in parallel, new polymers and device designs were investigated for increased efficiency.

In the second year, GE focused on developing a new scalable, fault tolerant architecture compatible with low-cost fabrication methods. The result was a device measuring 6 in. x 6 in. that produced 70 lumens of light with an efficacy of 7 lumens per watt — another world record. In the third and final year, the team focused on increasing lumen output and efficiency, developing a 2 ft. x 2 ft. illumination-quality OLED array using a tiling approach to link 16 panels together.

These breakthroughs demonstrate that the light quality, output, and efficiency of OLED technology can meet the needs of general illumination. The next goal is to demonstrate that organic electronic devices can be made cost-effectively on flexible material in a continuous roll-to-roll process.