Konica Minolta and General Electric have signed a strategic alliance agreement to accelerate the development and commercialisation of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) devices for lighting applications. Their goal is to bring OLED lighting to market within the next 3 years.
OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They have the potential to deliver improved levels of efficiency and performance, while achieving at least the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today.
In 2006, KM announced that it had successfully developed a white OLED with a world record power efficiency of 64 lumens per watt at 1,000 candela per square metre—a brightness which is appropriate for lighting applications. Prior to this development, KM developed its own highly efficient and long-life blue phosphorescent materials. Applying these material technologies, along with multi-layer design technology and innovative optical design technology, KM succeeded in developing an OLED having a practical light emission level of approximately 10,000 hours.
For its part, GE has made substantial investments in OLED research that have resulted in world records for OLED lighting device size and efficiency. In 2004, GE researchers were able to demonstrate an OLED device that was fully functional as a 24 inch by 24-inch panel, which produced 1,200 lumens of light with efficiency on par with today’s incandescent bulb technology. Since then, GE has more than doubled the level of OLED efficiency using device architectures that are scalable to a large area and can be produced cost-effectively.
In the coming months, KM and GE will further accelerate research and development of OLED lighting by sharing technologies and knowledge. KM’s technology centre will lead the research and development activities for KM. GE Global Research, GE’s centralised research and development organisation, and GE’s Consumer and Industrial business division will lead research and development for GE.