GE, Konica Minolta develop first flexible OLEDs

Lights reach new levels of thinness with OLED advances

GE's seven-watt LED, part of the company's range of LED advances.
GE's seven-watt LED, part of the company's range of LED advances.

General Electric (GE) is working with Konica Minolta to develop what it calls the world’s first general-lighting quality flexible OLEDs.

This follows on from GE’s development of a nine-watt LED light bulb that will replace a traditional 40-watt bulb, and will last an average of 17 years.

The company says it is attempting to showcase fixture prototypes that will demonstrate the expected competitive advantages of its approach to OLEDs: flexibility and an ultra-thin form factor.

“Lighting is becoming more than just a functional, utilitarian aspect of an environment," said Zoltan Vamos, GE Lighting's Budapest-based global general manager of lighting technology. “We are still experimenting and imagining a future with OLEDs, but we think our approach will allow us to apply light to literally any surface at a thickness of just a few sheets of paper.”

OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. In addition to widespread design capabilities, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically-improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving the high quality of illumination found in traditional light-emitting diode (LED) systems.

Konica Minolta is assisting GE with the effort by producing the first proprietary blue phosphorescent materials that, when combined with multi-layer film design and innovative optical design technologies, successfully developed white OLEDs.

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