Konica Minolta, GE Form OLED Alliance
NEW YORK & TOKYO, March 27, 2007 -- Konica Minolta Holdings Inc., Konica Minolta Technology Center Inc. and General Electric Co. announced Monday they have signed an agreement to jointly accelerate the development and commercialization of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) devices for lighting applications. They said the goal is to bring OLED lighting to market within three years.
OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. "They represent the next evolution in lighting products," the companies said in a joint statement. "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 at least the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today."
In June, Konica Minolta announced it had developed a white OLED with a world-record power efficiency of 64 lumens per watt at 1000 candela per square meter -- a brightness appropriate for lighting applications. It had previously developed highly efficient and long-life blue phosphorescent materials. Applying these technologies, along with multilayer design and optical design technology, it developed an OLED with a practical light emission level of approximately 10,000 hours.
In addition to material technology and optical design technology, Konica Minolta has been developing ultrahigh-barrier film fabrication technology to enable high productivity.
"Superb coating technology nurtured through the development of photographic film and display materials also plays an important role in the development of highly productive OLEDs," the company said. It said research and development to commercialize the technology is underway.
GE, as part of its Ecomagination initiative, has made investments in OLED research that have resulted in OLED lighting device size and efficiency records. In 2004, GE researchers demonstrated an OLED device that was fully functional as a 24-by-24-in. panel that produced 1200 lumens of light with an efficiency on par with today’s incandescent bulb technology. This was the first demonstration that OLED technology could potentially be used for lighting applications, the company said.
"Since then, GE has more than doubled the level of OLED efficiency using device architectures that are scalable to a large area and that can be produced cost-effectively," GE said.
In addition to increasing efficiency, GE has focused on developing requirements -- including plastic film substrates, ultrahigh barrier coatings and fabrication processes and equipment to enable the high speed, cost-effective “roll-to-roll” manufacturing -- to produce large-area OLED lighting.
The companies said they will accelerate research and development of OLED lighting in the coming months by sharing their technologies and knowledge. Konice Minolta’s technology center will lead its research and development activities; GE Global Research and GE’s Consumer and Industrial business division will lead GE's efforts.
GE Consumer & Industrial Vice President Michael Petras said, “In a world demanding higher standards for energy efficiency and environmental performance, OLED lighting has the potential to become a major lighting source on both fronts. And because OLED lighting is soft and diffused, it will create some exciting application opportunities for designers and specifiers. The applications are numerous, ranging from ceiling lighting for office and residential applications to interior automotive and aircraft lighting to many specialty lighting applications such as task lighting, sign and various forms of interior retail lighting.”
Masatoshi Matsuzaki, president, Konica Minolta Technology Center Inc., said, “Having such unprecedented attractive features as flexible, thin, lightweight and sheet form, OLED lighting is considered one of the most promising new business opportunities for us in the future.”
For more information, visit: www.ge.com/research
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