Could flexible organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, be the future of lighting? Don’t worry; I don’t understand that sentence either. Keep reading for a jargon-free explanation.
On General Electric’s research campus in Niskayuna, NY, there is a machine that prints lights. This machine is so good at its job the lights it creates could make traditional lamps and lighting fixtures obsolete. In what sounds to be a relatively simple process, the semitrailer-size machine coats an 8” wide plastic film with chemicals and seals it with a layer of metal foil. When an electric current is applied to the plastic sheet, be prepared to throw on a pair of shades as it emits an ethereal blue glow.
Light from the sheet is produced using compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). OLEDs are currently used in television and cell-phone displays and have been embraced by large
manufacturers such as Siemens and Philips.