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Phosphorescent OLED Lighting Saves Energy

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by David L. Shenkenberg

EWING, N.J. -- The next time you're watching your older TV set and see Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu tackling an offensive lineman, you might ask yourself: Should I chuck the old set and get a plasma or an LCD? Or how about a newer LED or laser TV? Actually, the answer may be none of these.

Makers of televisions are seeing organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs, as the way of the future. OLED TVs are already on the market, but they have yet to take off because they need improvements such as the ability to be mass produced affordably. However, proponents of the technology point out that OLED televisions do not require a backlight and therefore can be very thin. Moreover, they are less prone to screen burn than plasma and respond to motion better than LCD.

"Anyone who sees an OLED by an LCD or plasma panel, their breath is taken away by the OLED," said Janice Mahon, vice president of technology commercialization at Universal Display Corp, a company that makes phosphorescent OLEDs for display manufacturers. Phosphorescent OLED applications also include displays for computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices such as cameras, as well as automotive applications.

Universal Display Corp. (UDC) has more than 940 pending and issued OLED patents and more than 30 business agreements with major manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and Tohoku Pioneer. The company traces its roots to Princeton University and the University of Southern California and now counts the University of Michigan among its collaborators. The company is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol PANL.

Did you know that televisions today drain 10 percent of the power grid? UDC wants to change that. The company began with the discovery that using phosphorescent OLEDs versus regular OLEDs could improve efficiency by a factor of 4. Most recently, they have achieved more than 100 lumens per Watt with white phosphorescent OLEDs, which is much more efficient than the 40 to 80 lumens per Watt that fluorescent bulbs can achieve.

Mahon believes that they will reach the Department of Energy target of 150 lumens per Watt. The company hopes to get a coveted Energy Star sticker, which will please environmentally conscious consumers. The white phosphorescent OLEDs exceed the Energy Star Category A color specification and the efficiency specification. The lifetime of the phosphorescent OLEDs ranged up to 17,000 hours, close to the Department of Energy goal of 25,000 hours.

Various shades of white are made by mixing red, green and blue phosphorescent OLEDs. These white phosphorescent OLEDs are most likely to be used in place of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in your home and for other direct illumination applications.

David L. Shenkenberg
Apr 2009
A gas made up of electrons and ions.
automotivebulbscamerasConsumerDisplayselectronicenergyEnergy StarfluorescentJanice Mahonlaser TVLCDlumensNews & FeaturesOLEDsphosphorescentPioneerplasmapower gridPrincetonSamsungSonyUDCUniversal Display Corp.lasersLEDs

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