Turned On: A New Form of Light

Looks like the future holds a bright new ray of light! Currently in use and with accelerated research and development in progress- is the new OLED- or Organic Light Emitting Diode. This light is the new cousin of the latest current shining light- the LED. The LED has gained enormous popularity in recent years for it's 20 year life span, intense range of color and outstanding energy efficiency. According to a recent article in the NY Times:
"an even newer technology is intriguing the world’s lighting designers: OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, create long-lasting, highly efficient illumination in a wide range of colors, just like their inorganic LED cousins. But unlike LEDs, which provide points of light like standard incandescent bulbs, OLEDs create uniform, diffuse light across ultrathin sheets of material that eventually can even be made to be flexible."

The light source is being applied in such applications as cell phones, architecture, in particular, skylights that allow natural light in during the day and offer dramatic colorful fusion of light at night, car lighting and general purpose lighting fixtures.

In the not so mundane limelight... lighting designer Ingo Maurer has been working with LED and OLED light in both artistic and practical applications. His installations and artwork were presented in a show at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NY last year and his range of work is fascinating. A particular favorite Birds Series uses traditional light and pinpoints the relationship between nature and light- a common theme in his work. The first table lamp (shown below), inspired by a tree, is the first of its kind to be designed with OLED panels.

At this stage, OLED are tagged with a considerably higher price point, much as LED and other innovative technology in recent past. But as research and development progresses, the price point is expected to drop dramatically making this form of light vastly more accessible. All of the major lighting companies: G.E., Konica Minolta, Osram Sylvania, Philips and Universal Display are heavily invested in new product development using OLED. It's maximum energy efficiency and versatility should make it a preferred sustainable choice in the future. Encompassing the spectrum- pragmatic, industrial, architectural and artistic- OLED lighting holds a promising and illuminating future- can't wait to see more!

Photos via NYTimes.com, decojournal.com, osram-os.com, cooperhewitt.org,

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