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  1. What Is OLED Lighting: And How Is It Different from LEDs? LED lighting has been a key factor in the energy-use revolution over the last decade. It’s amazing to think that something as innocuous as a light bulb has been at the forefront of educating consumers on how technology can cut our carbon footprint and improve our homes and businesses. In just a few years, LED lighting went from niche uses to mainstream. Helped in part by a significant drop in price, total installations of LED bulbs in American homes more than doubled from 77 million to 202 million in just one year. That figure is even more impressive when compared to the fewer than 400,000 installations in 2009. But will this dramatic shift from one technology to another repeat itself? Will our 25-year life span LED lightbulbs be obsolete in 10 years when another hot new green technology comes along? We won’t have to wait another decade to find out. That new technology is already here: organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Estimated to be a $1.3 billion market by 2023, OLED lighting works by using thin layers of organic compounds to emit light through electric currents. In contrast, LEDs predominantly use the chemical yellow phosphor. Score one for OLEDs on the green scale. OLEDs also have no UV rays, whereas LEDs have some. OLEDs differ significantly from LEDs in form. They are made in sheets that are incredibly thin and pliable, so they can be adapted to work in places LEDs can never go. They also emit light evenly, as opposed to the bright, concentrated light of LEDs—think the difference between a paintbrush and a pen. Does this mean OLEDs are going to replace LEDs as a greener, cleaner light source? In short, no. But they will augment and enhance the quest for ultimate lighting efficiency. Due to technical limitations, OLEDs are not, and likely won’t ever be, available in the traditional bulb style. They come as flat panels, which can be replaced as you would a light bulb. Here is an example of a consumer OLED lighting fixture: Additionally, while OLEDs generate less heat than LEDs and are capable of a significantly higher color rendering index (CRI), they are currently much more expensive, have a shorter lumen life than LEDS and are not as bright—meaning you need up to twice as many to produce the same light as LEDs. They are also not yet able to produce color and are not as energy efficient as LEDs. When it comes to energy efficiency and longevity, LEDs are still in the lead. So what are OLEDs good for now? Anywhere a smooth, diffused light of reasonable brightness is needed. From under-cabinet lighting to panels wrapped around a bathroom mirror, OLEDs provide a smooth, shadow free, non-glaring light—in contrast to most LED bulbs, which need diffusers and other effects to reduce glare and dissipate heat. This also makes OLEDs a good choice for overhead lighting in commercial office buildings and schools. Where OLED won’t work is spotlighting, track or recessed lighting and anywhere you need point source light or long reach—LEDs will always win in those regards. What this means is that OLEDs are not a replacement for LEDs, but an enhancement. They fill in the gaps where LEDs don’t shine. OLEDs also give us a glimpse into how we will light our homes in the future. Think about the sci-fi movies you’ve watched. Did you ever see a light bulb on the Starship Enterprise? The form factor of OLEDs is essentially what you saw in those futuristic worlds: diffused, flat light that glows gently from walls, ceilings and even floors. Some companies have started to experiment with such futuristic uses, like using OLED panels in their display windows. Additionally, because of its flexibility, OLED lighting can be shaped into bold new designs far from your traditional light fixture. "OLEDs will present lighting products in a new form factor, which will expand the design possibilities and change the way we use light in many environments," Darice Liu, of Universal Display, told CNET. Switching America to LED lighting is still the holy grail that will generate enormous energy savings of 5.1 quads annually by 2035, according to energy.gov. While OLED technology is developing rapidly, it can’t outperform the dramatic reduction in electricity bills, enhanced energy security and significant environmental benefits LEDs provide. However, as the cost of OLED drops, as we saw it do with LEDs, it will surely be a significant lighting source for our future. Source: motherearthnews
  2. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released CALiPER Report 24: Photometric Testing, Laboratory Teardowns, and Accelerated Lifetime Testing of OLED Luminaires, which is the first CALiPER report evaluating the performance of OLED luminaires based on independent procurement and testing. Among the findings: Overall, efficacy of the OLED luminaires was low compared to contemporary LED luminaires, ranging from 23 lm/W up to 45 lm/W. OLED panels range between 42 and 55 lm/W according to panel manufacturer data, and much of the efficacy reduction in the luminaire performance is due to very inefficient transformer and driver selections and combinations. The wider availability of dedicated OLED drivers should improve efficacies in the near future. Light distribution was consistent among the tested products – a soft, diffuse, roughly Lambertian emission, moderated only by the physical configuration of the luminaire hardware. This is expected to produce very soft shadows from objects in the path of the light, and patterns of light on surfaces with very soft gradients at the edges of the “beam.” The drivers for all four CALiPER luminaire types were different, with some luminaires using a single driver and others using a combination of electronic components for voltage transformation, conversion from AC to DC, and voltage/current control. The OLED luminaires performed very closely to the manufacturers’ published technical data, where available. OLED panels, drivers, and transformers are still in a steep curve of development. Goals are higher efficacy; longer life, before panel replacement on the jobsite is needed; better lumen maintenance over time; even better color quality and wider CCT options; higher-efficiency drivers; and robustness under high temperature, high humidity, and rough handling from shipping and installation. Improvements in these areas could make OLED luminaires more accepted in the architectural marketplace, and adopted as a trusted lighting solution. For a closer look at the findings, download the full report Testing of OLED Luminaires (3.68 MB).pdf Rubik from Mark Architectural Lighting Source: http://energy.gov, acuitybrands
  3. Carpetlight: State of the Art Lighting Technology combined with Textiles Carpetlight, founded by Götz Schmidt zur Nedden and Till Sadlowski and based in Hamburg, Germany, finally found a way to offer customized flexible lamps in any size with any combination of LEDs to lighting professionals. The brilliant product reaches brightness and color rendering indices that have never been achieved before. On the contrary to other smart-textile technologies currently used in design and fashion which are merely glimmering or decorative fabrics, Carpetlights´s novel product delivers a luminous output high enough to light whole objects and rooms. The lighting system comes in predefined packages for scene-, film- and stage lighting, but is even great for any custom architectural application, both in indoor and outdoor environments. Different groups from the lighting profession have been dreaming for a while of truly flexible light sources. Initially, OLED lighting was promoted as the best future solution, but meanwhile, quite a few alternatives such as flexible- and planar lighting solutions appeared on the market. The lighting system is lightweight, flexible, versatile, efficient and can be adapted to any desired form or function by folding, rolling, crumpling, hanging, wrapping, hooking or stretching it. The product is excellent for use at fashion shows, exhibitions, architectural applications, interior design or archeological excavations. More information: lighting-inspiration