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OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) are light emitting panels made from organic (carbon based) materials that emit light when electricity is applied. OLED are used today to make beautiful and efficient displays and large, efficient and beautiful lighting panels.

Stage Entertainment Hamburg Theatre OLED installation 2 photo

An OLED 'light bulb' is a thin film of material that emits light. OLED is the only technology that can create large "area" lighting panels (as opposed to point or line lighting enabled by LEDs and fluorescent bulbs). OLEDs can be used to make flexible and transparent panels, and can also be color-tunable. OLEDs emit beautiful soft diffused light - in fact OLEDs lighting is the closest light source to natural light (with the exception of the old incandescent lamps).

LG Chem truly flexible OLED lighting panel photo

OLED lighting on the market

Several companies already offer OLED lighting panels - including Philips/OLEDWorks, Osram, LG, Konica Minolta and others. Current production lines are still small, and prices are still high, but we see rapid advances in performance and price and hopefully OLED lighting prices will drop dramatically once mass production is achieved.


Above you can see a video review we posted a couple of years ago, showing sample OLED panels from Philips, OSRAM, Blackbody and Lumiotec. Current panels on the market are larger, brighter and more efficient than those available back then, and some companies already produce flexible and transparent panels as well.

The OLED lighting market

There are several companies that produce OLED panels, but most of these panels should be considered as "samples" as production volume is low. The leading OLED producers at this stage are LG Display, OLEDWorks/Philips and Konica Minolta. LG is offering the widest range of panels, including flexible panels and the largest OLED in production (at 320 x320 mm).

Snowflake by Davide Marin OLED lighting design

Philips/OLEDWorks is focused on functional light - bright, efficient and homogenous panels. The company's main panel is the FL300 Brite Lumiblade, which is a 100x100 mm panel that offers a 300 lumens, 50 lm/W, 10,000 hours lifetime (LT70) and is only 1.4 mm thick.

Philips Lumiblade Brite FL300 photo

Konica Minolta built the world's most advanced OLED fab - a Roll-to-Roll flexible OLED lighting fab - that has a capacity to produce a million flexible and color-tunable OLED panels each month. The Japanese company recently announced that it shipped 15,000 flexible OLEDs to a Japanese Tulips Festival - by far the largest OLED installation to date, but real mass production at that fab is yet to be achieved

Konica Minolta Shining Tulip Festival photo

OLED lighting future

It is still not clear when and if OLED lighting will break out and become a real market. Most market analysts agree that OLED lighting will eventually become a large market - but it will take time.

IDTechEx OLED lighting cost and market (2016-2025)IDTechEx OLED lighting forecasts (April 2016)

IDTechEx estimates that the OLED lighting market will reach more than $1.8 billion in 2025 at the panel level. IDTechEx is optimistic about OLED lighting in the long term - because "OLED lighting exhibits key characteristics of a disruptive technology". Yole Developpement predict a $1.5 billion OLED lighting market in 2021 (up from nearly $30 million in 2015).

Further reading

Latest OLED lighting news

The Holst Centre: flexible OLED lighting is an excellent solution to illuminate touch controls

Mar 27, 2017

The Holst Center presented a new functional demonstrator that uses the Holst' in-mold electronics (IME) technology to show new human-machine interfaces in automotive electronics and consumer appliances. One of the new technologies embedded in this demonstrator is flexible OLED lighting that is used to illuminate touch controls.

Holst IME automotive technology demonstrator photo

The Holst Center says that this is the first time a flexible OLED has been used to illuminate touch controls. Usually several LEDs, light guides, complex wiring and bulky PCBs are required to achieve this effect. Flexible OLED lighting provides a much easier solution with complete design freedom.

The OLED lighting commercialization strategy of China's First-O-Lite

Mar 25, 2017
This is a premium OLED-Info article

First-O-Lite (FOL) was established in 2010 in Nanjing, China with an aim to become an OLED lighting developer and producer. Based on its hybrid tandem architecture, FOL has a 2-Gen OLED lighting production fab that is currently producing 70 lm/W OLED lighting panels.

First-o-Lite 3 OLED lamp families (January 2017)

This article details the company's OLED lighting panels, its strategy to create an initial health-lighting niche market in china, its current product families and its technology and business roadmaps going forward.

OLED Handbook

Konica Minolta and Pioneer announce a new automotive OLED joint venture

Mar 25, 2017

In January 2017 we reported that Konica Minolta and Pioneer are set to merge their OLED business unit, and today Konica Minolta officially announced a joint-venture with Pioneer to accelerate automotive OLED lighting.

Konica Minolta and Pioneer will setup a joint venture, which will be called Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED. The new 50:50 JV company will be established in May 2017 with an initial capital of 490 million yen (about $4.4 million) and a focus on OLED lighting for automotive applications.

The FlexE Center in Kanpur orders a bespoke pilot R2R line for printed and flexible electronics R&D

Mar 23, 2017

The National Centre of Flexible Electronics (FlexE Centre) at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur announced that it assigned UK-based RK PrintCoat Instruments to manufacture and supply a bespoke roll-to-roll (R2R) pilot line that will be used for R&D and prototyping projects in the field of printed and flexible electronics.

FlexE R2R R&D pilot line image

The National Centre for Flexible Electronics (FlexE) was established in 2014 at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, with an aim to bring together Indian academia, industry and public research organizations for research and development of large area flexible electronics. The FlexE center develops OLED lighting and OLED signage applications and is collaborating with industrial partners in both fields. The center explores evaporation, printing and hybrid processing for OLED production.

BASF acquires light management expert Rolic

Feb 24, 2017

BASF announced that it acquired light management expert Rolic AG, Rolic Technologies logoa private company headquartered in Switzerland. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Rolic develops and markets nanoscale surface modification systems that achieve unique light management and optical effects. Rolic has three business units: displays, security and organic electronics. For the OLED market, Rolic develops materials that improve light outcoupling, lifetime and efficiency for OLED displays and lighting panels.

Konica Minolta and Pioneer to merge their OLED lighting business?

Jan 31, 2017

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Konica Minolta and Pioneer are in talks to merge their OLED lighting business. According to the report, the two companies are finalizing the agreement, and will setup a new 50:50 joint venture in the spring.

Both companies are producing OLEDs, and the two production facilities will still be owned by the parent companies - but the OLED R&D and sales operations and will be spun-off to a new company.

The DoE grants two new SBIR OLED lighting projects

Jan 26, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DoE) announced new SBIR and STTR grants for solid state lighting projects. The DoE announced five new grants out of which two are related to OLED technologies.

Pixelligent Technologies were awarded an SBIR project titled "Light Extraction for OLED Lighting with 3-D Gradient Index". This project will explore the application of a novel and unique 3D gradient index (GRIN) layer to improve the efficiency and lifetime of OLED devices. Using such a unique structure, OLEDs could be produced that achieve the theoretical maximum extraction efficiency.

Yeolight opens an OLED lighting exhibition center

Jan 24, 2017

China's Yeolight has opened an OLED lighting exhibition center, located in GU’an city Hebei province, China. Yeolight says that at 431 sqm, this is the largest OLED lighting gallery in China. Most of the OLED panels on display are produced by Yeolight, but some are made by LG Display.

Yeolight OLED lighting exhibition center room photo

The exhibition center has six different "experience" areas that demonstrate a range of OLED installations, including commercial lighting, interior lighting and automotive lighting. The center also includes explanations of OLED lighting technology and fabrication processes.

LG to introduce 3-stack structure for its 2017 OLED lighting and TV panels

Dec 25, 2016

During the International Display Workshops that was help a few weeks ago in Fukuoka Japan, LG Display discussed its new WOLED tandem stack that it plans to introduce soon to its OLED TVs and lighting panels.

LG WOLED 2-stack/3-stack structure (2016-2017)

LG Display says that its new stack is a "3-stack-OLED" while its existing stack is a "2-stack-OLED". As you can see in the image above, LG apparently counts each emissive layer as a different stack in this case.

LG Display restructures its business units to better focus on OLED technologies

Dec 15, 2016

According to Business Korea, LG Display recently restructured its business so it can better focus on OLED technologies. LG Display's five business units (TV, OLED, IT, mobile and AD) were merged into just three units - TV, IT and mobile.

LG 13x8m OLED installation Incheon airport

According to Business Korea, OLED technologies will be the focus of LGD's TV unit, and also of its mobile business unit. The mobile unit now handles all plastic-OLED development, while the TV unit handles the large-area OLED panel production and developement. The new IT unit s still focused on LCD displays (for monitors and laptops). LG's OLED lighting unit is now part of LG's TV business division, and the automotive display business division is now part of the mobile unit.