Energy solid behind solid state OLEDs

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

The Energy Department is betting $4 million that organic light emitting diodes are going to not only help us create better ambient lighting but also create clean tech jobs for Americans.

The site has been picked for the first pilot facility for OLED lighting panels.

Jim Brodrick, solid-state lighting (SSL) portfolio manager at Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, told Federal News Radio about fifty jobs over the next two years are expected to be generated at the manufacturing facility.


Brodrick said funding for the project is spread out from federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to state, county, and city funding and privately, India-based Moser Baer Technologies, Inc. “bringing money here to the United States to put into this production facility.”

“We would love to see this (kind of job generation) many many times,” said Broderick.

The goal is to manufacture one thousand six by six inch OLED panels a day, and then make those panels available to the lighting industry to try, said Broderick.

They’ll then be used for overhead lighting like that found in most offices. OLEDs initially will be a clean white color used for general ambient lighting, with, according to wikipedia, “internal quantum efficiencies of such devices approaching 100%.”

At just a sixteenth of an inch thick, said Broderick, the technology will open up “options you’ve never had before in lighting.”

Broderick said he has an OLED in his office. When it’s off, it’s a mirror. “You can also have them be clear, and you can also make them bendable.” So a light can be a cylinder or bends around a corner, he explained. “Also you could maybe have it on a window and during the day you could look right through it but at night it will light up. So there are attributes of OLEDs that have never been seen in traditional lighting.”

The project will start with general illumination, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess. For example, said Broderick, “you can imagine what they can do with these things in automobiles. I mean, they could have them in the ceiling, curved, right with the curvature of the sheet metal.”

More bright ideas await.