FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.

posted on 15 June 2016

Why You Should Get Ready To Say Goodbye To The Humble Lightbulb

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Alison Walker, University of Bath

Lightbulbs are disappearing. The traditional incandescent bulbs that revolutionised daily life in the 20th century have largely already gone and the energy efficient fluorescent bulbs that replaced them are now also on their way out. In their place, we now have highly efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are small semiconductor devices that produce light when an electric current is passed through them.

But even these are often arranged in a device that looks something like a conventional lightbulb. The technology that comes next could do away with the concept of rooms having a single light source and instead build light into the ceiling or walls themselves. This new type of organic LED (OLED) will redefine how we think about lighting.

OLEDs are not bulbs but films of layered organic semiconductors, meaning that they are made from carbon and hydrogen, just like organic life. There are two main families of OLED: those based on small molecules and those employing polymers. Organic LEDs aren't connected to organic food or farming but they are very efficient and do not contain toxic metals, such as mercury, so they are a green technology.

Conventional LEDs produce sharp points of light and cannot produce white light so LED bulbs usually mix different colours to approximate natural light but often do so with a blue tinge. In contrast, OLEDs emit a soft, diffuse light that's colour can be tuned to mimic natural light as closely as the old incandescent lamps. The technology provides fast switch-on times, wide operating temperatures and no noise.

Alison Walker and colleague Enrico Da Como experimenting with OLED panels. University of Bath

But perhaps the most interesting thing about OLEDs is that the films they are made from are just 0.3mm wide and can be moulded into flexible, transparent lighting panels and twisted into different shapes. This means OLED lights won't just be small fittings placed in the middle of a ceiling. Instead, they can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes and fitted to different parts of a room, or even used to create animated screens or wirelessly updatable wallpaper.

It also means they could be made using additive manufacturing processes - essentially printing the entire technology onto a wall or ceiling panel or other flexible base. This would reduce waste because you only print what you need and you can manufacture the lights locally, reducing their environmental impact. They also don't require the high temperature curing ovens used to make conventional LEDs.

An OLED lighting panel comprises multiple layers of organic material that are each tens of nanometers thick. These are sandwiched between two electrodes, a transparent conducting base layer and a metallic top layer. When electricity passes between these electrodes, it causes the organic material in between to emit light. Certain organic molecules in the layers act as "dopants" which determine the wavelength and so the colour of the light.

Bringing the cost down

Despite all the advantages of OLEDs, it may still take a while for them to take over from existing light fittings. The main reason we don't already have OLEDs in our homes is the price tag. Industry experts expect OLED lighting will become a major market by 2020-2023, when OLED panels are expected to cost €200 per square metre (down from €7,000 today).

Cheaper OLEDs should be made possible by developing faster manufacturing methods. We also need to find a way to ensure the blue light emitting molecules in OLEDS last as long as those that produce green and red emissions. OLEDWorks, a New York-based lighting company that bought the OLED division from Philips Lighting in 2015, already has several products with 50,000-hour lifespans, comparable to existing LED lights. Once these goals are achieved we should be prepared for any part of a room - or object within it - to light up when we flick the switch.

The ConversationAlison Walker, Professor of physics, University of Bath

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.

You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.

Econintersect Contributors


Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF

The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.

Take a look at what is going on inside of
Main Home
Analysis Blog
A Short Note on a Connection Between Marginalist Economics and Folk Medicine
Run A High Pressure Economy? Janet Yellen Does Not Understand the Problem
News Blog
Advance Estimate 3Q2016 GDP Quarter-over-Quarter Growth at 2.9 Percent.
Rail Week Ending 22 October 2016 Better Than The Previous Week
What Happens After The Islamic State Loses Mosul
Infographic Of The Day: The History Of Women's Ice Hockey In Canada
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Huge Antarctic Marine Park, Can Trump Get To 270?, US Workers Gaining, UK Inflation, France GDP, India Savings Lag And More
Why Amazon Gives So Many Perks To Prime Members
Where Workplace Trust Is Strongest
How A Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Brain - And Personality
How Accurate Are Final US Election Polls
What We Read Today 27 October 2016
A Pony And His Beloved Teddy Bear Reunite After Being Apart For 3 Years
October 2016 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Remains In Expansion
September 2016 Median Household Income Not Statistically Different Than The Previous Month
Investing Blog
Technical Thoughts: Looking For The Rebounds
Gold That Pays Dividends
Opinion Blog
Global Debt Investors: The Silence Of The Lambs
A Hard Brexit And Reduced Migration Won't Benefit UK Workers
Precious Metals Blog
Inflation Surging As Platinum Signals Stock Market Decline
Live Markets
28Oct2016 Pre-Market Commentary: US GDP Rises To 2.9 Percent, Gold Falls Sharply, Markets Expected To Initially Open Fractionally Higher
Amazon Books & More

.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

Crowdfunding ....



Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved