After a 4-year, $13 million research project in collaboration with Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) and the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, GE has announced a new way to manufacture organic LEDs (OLEDs).
"Researchers have long dreamed of making OLEDs using a newspaper-printing like roll-to-roll process," said Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s Advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics. "Now we’ve shown that it is possible. Commercial applications in lighting require low manufacturing costs, and this demonstration is a major milestone on our way to developing low cost OLED lighting devices."This is interesting because OLEDs, like normal LEDs, could potentially be used for lighting in most conditions in the near-future without the downsides of inefficient incandescents and fragile CFLs that contain small amounts of mercury. They also last much longer than even the best fluorescents.
This is a big deal when you know that, according to the US Department of Energy, lighting accounts for 1/4 of all electricity used in the US.
But that's not all!
Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.
According to Clean Break, ECD's subsidiary, United Solar Ovonic, is using the technology to mass-produce its flexible Uni-Solar brand solar laminates.