Azara Blog: Organic light-emitting diodes as possible replacement for light bulbs

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Date published: 2006/04/13

The BBC says:

A natural light source that could put the traditional light bulb in the shade has been invented by US scientists.

The organic light-emitting diode (OLED) emits a brilliant white light when attached to an electricity supply.

The material, described in the journal Nature, can be printed in wafer thin sheets that could transform walls, ceilings or even furniture into lights.

The OLEDs do not heat up like today's light bulbs and so are far more energy efficient and should last longer.

"We're hoping that this will lead to significantly longer device times lifetimes in addition to higher efficiency," said Professor Mark Thompson of the University of Southern California, one of the authors of the paper.
The researchers believe that eventually this material could be 100% efficient, meaning it could be capable of converting all of the electricity to light, without the heat loss associated with traditional bulbs.

The new material can also be printed onto glass or plastic and so in theory could create large areas of lighting, relatively cheaply.

Before this becomes a reality, the scientists need to work out a way to seal the LEDs from moisture which can contaminate the sensitive material, causing it to no longer work.

Sounds good, but obviously it's early days. There are already low-energy alternatives to traditional light bulbs, but most people don't like them (they are more expensive to buy and the light they produce is not as good).

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