The OLED100.eu project is a European 3-year OLED lighting project. The 30M$ project is a followup to the OLLA project, ended in June 2008, and it is lead by Philips, OSRAM, Siemens, Novaled and the Franhofer IPMS.
Dr. Stefan Grabowsky, the project's manager has been kind enough to talk to us, answer a few questions and give us more info on the project. Dr. Stefan has a Ph.D in Physics, from the University of Duisburg. In 2000 he joined Philips Research labs. He's working on OLEDs for several years now, with a focus on device physics and OLED stack development. Since September 2008 he is the project manager for OLED100.eu.
Q: Stefan, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Can you tell us a bit about OLED100.eu?
OLED100.eu is an European integrated research project that has brought together a consortium of experts from leading industry and academic organizations to accelerate the development of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technologies. It has received €12.5 million funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme to form the technological basis for efficient OLED applications for the general lighting industry in Europe.
The OLED100.eu programme has started in September 2008 and builds upon the OLLA (Organic LEDs for Lighting Applications) programme after its successful completion in June 2008. OLLA created the basis for organic lighting by developing white OLEDs with efficacies of 50.7 lm/W at an initial brightness of 1000 cd/m2 and with lifetimes well above 10.000 hours. With OLED100.eu we target specifications that are required for general lighting applications. Therefore we aim to realize five main goals before Q4 2011:
- High power efficacy (100 lm/W)
- Long lifetime (100.000 h)
- Large area (100x100 cm2)
- Low-cost (100 Euro/m2)
- Measurement standardization / application research
Q: Can you update us on your progress?
On our route towards higher efficiency we are currently considering several new stack approaches. In addition, great effort is put into developing out-coupling solutions that increase the amount of light available in air, since 100 lm/W can only be reached through good team work between stack design and out-coupling.
With respect to device lifetime we have reached values considerably beyond 10.000 hours in the research laboratories of Novaled and Philips. An interesting highlight was achieved on our route towards low cost manufacturing. The Fraunhofer IPMS has demonstrated a lithography-less OLED. Usually the ITO anode as well as the shunt lines, which are required for homogenous current distribution, are structured by photolithographic processes. We have now OLEDs that were made on substrates on which the ITO structuring was done by screen printing of an etch paste. The shunt lines were also deposited by screen printing. This is a potentially much cheaper process and allows in addition a much higher flexibility on the substrate design.
Q: What will you consider to be a big success in the project?
OLED 100.eu set out to lay the technological foundation for using OLEDs in general lighting applications. This will accelerate the OLED lighting industry in Europe and that enables European consumers to use this new energy efficient lighting at home. This will decrease the use of electric energy and reduce our CO2 footprint. If we can contribute to that, it would be a major success.
Q: Are you guys also considering Transparent or Flexible lighting panels?
OLED100.eu is focusing on OLED use for general lighting. But of course these are interesting topics. That’s why some of the OLED100.eu consortium partners are participating in other projects that cover these aspects as well.
Q: What exactly are the roles of OSRAM, Siemens, Philips, Novaled, Fraunhofer and others in the project?
The project partners are working in the following fields:
- Bartenbach LichtLabor : Application Research
- European Photonic Industry Consortium: EPIC : Dissemination
- Evonik Degussa : Technologies for low-cost devices / Light outcoupling
- Fraunhofer IPMS : Technologies for large-area / Technologies for low-cost devices / Application Research
- Microsharp : Light outcoupling
- Novaled : OLED device stack development / Light outcoupling / Technologies for large area
- OCE Technologies : Technologies for low-cost devices
- OSRAM Opto Semiconductors : Technologies for large area / Application Research
- Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt: PTB : Photometric measurements
- Philips Technologie GmbH, Business Center OLED Lighting : Technologies for low-cost devices / Application research
- Philips Technologie GmbH Forschungslaboratorien : OLED device stack development / Light out-coupling / Technologies for large area / Technologies for low-cost devices / Project management
- Saint-Gobain Recherche : Technologies for low-cost devices / Light outcoupling
- Siemens : OLED device stack development
- Universiteit Gent : Light outcoupling
- Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Angewandte Photophysik : OLED device stack development
All partners are working collaboratively together to achieve the project goals according to their field of expertise. Novaled, the Technical University of Dresden, Siemens and Philips Research are bringing in their expertise in OLED device physics and their experience in designing OLED stacks to work on device architectures that will boost the device efficiency, for instance. OSRAM, the team from the Business Center OLED Lighting at Philips and the Fraunhofer IPMS can build on a vast experience in device manufacturing to develop processes that will bring down manufacturing cost and processes and device architectures that will enable us to make OLEDs on larger substrates. Partners like Microsharp and the University of Gent contribute with their knowledge in light out-coupling. Saint Gobain will implement the newly developed light out-coupling structures into the glass substrates, for instance. Evonik Degussa and OCE are developing printing processes to bring down substrate cost.
We are proud to have these renowned European companies and research institutes work together in OLED100.eu to achieve a common goal in OLED. I think we have a strong team of partners with complementary background and expertise that can realize the challenging goals of OLED100.eu.
Q: Are you guys working on small-molecules or Polymer based OLEDs?
For the OLED100.eu project we are focusing on small-molecule OLEDs. At the moment we are more confident that we can reach our targets of 100 lm/W and 100.000 hours lifetime with small molecule OLEDs.
* OLED100.eu also includes some non-technical work, you call is "Application Research". Can you tell us more? Are you working on OLED lighting applications? Or are these just studies?
In this task we are developing specific application scenarios for OLEDs and we will define the OLED requirements for these. However, we are also working on other application related issues:
It is important to reach a common understanding on OLED specific parameters that are relevant for applications. Luminaire manufacturers do not want a big discrepancy between the light source manufacturer’s data sheet values and the value they can finally exploit in the luminaire. Therefore, we are working on standardization proposals for parameters such as the homogeneity in terms of luminance and CIE color coordinates for large area OLEDs. We can rely there on the input from the Physikalische Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany, which is a national metrology institute with a vast experience in accurate measurements. Equally important is the input from lighting companies such as OSRAM and Philips, who know the application side well.
Furthermore, the OLED100.eu consortium member Bartenbach LichtLabor is conducting perception studies with large-area OLEDs. As these differ substantially from point sources, such a study is necessary to gain a better understanding of market acceptance. To give an example of the conducted work: In order to create large illuminated areas that cover complete walls and ceilings, large-area OLED tiles have to be assembled together. End-users will be questioned about their opinion on OLED tile shape and size and the overall looks of the emitting area.
Q: There are several interesting OLED lighting projects in the EU now, including Fast2Light, TOPLESS, CombOLED and others. What are your thoughts on this? Do you collaborate with any of them?
This indeed illustrates the interest and momentum of the industry and EU. The main topics of these projects are complementary to OLED100.eu, but there are also points of common interest. That’s why we established a communication flow with some of these projects. We had speakers from the AEVIOM and Fast2Light projects at our OLED100.eu Summer School, for instance. We are constantly exchanging information and discuss relevant topics wherever meaningful and possible.
Q: The big news in OLED lighting lately has been Philips "experience-kit" - you can actually order OLED lighting panels online now. What do you say about this? Do you think Philips will be actually able to have commercial products in 2010, like they plan?
We are pleased to see that Philips enables designers and developers to gain experience with the new lighting source OLED. OLED has unique benefits with its thin form factor and diffuse light. Now designers are able to work with real OLEDs and prepare their future designs for a successful market introduction of multiple OLED lighting product s in the near future.
Q: Are Philips' OLEDs based on the work done by OLLA?
Know-how generated inside the OLLA project or other projects like OPAL is being utilized at Philips and know-how that has been developed at Philips flows in turn back into these funded research projects, e.g. now into OLED100.eu. This is the positive effect of being part of a research consortium. One can stimulate each other and gain more momentum than if one would be working just by oneself.
Q: Who do you see as the future leader in OLED lighting? Europe, the US or Japan?
OLED offers unique opportunities in lighting applications and there are several R&D initiatives worldwide. All major European research and industry companies work together in OLED100.eu to realize OLED for general lighting applications.
Q: What do you think are the main challenges for the OLED lighting industry?
The basic technology for OLED lighting is there. Of course, there are still steps to take for general lighting applications, but the requirements for decorative and design oriented lighting applications can be met already. The challenge is to develop and install equipment and processes for mass production of OLEDs. OLED lighting technology is a new industrial branch. One can partially built on the expertise from other technological areas, but new challenges have to be met and new ideas have to be generated to turn OLED lighting into real mass products in the future.
Q: Where do you see OLED lighting in 3 years? When do you think we'll actually be able to buy an OLED "lamp"?
You can actually buy the first OLED lighting products today, there is the OLED lamp from Ingo Maurer and OSRAM and you can order Lumiblade-OLEDs from Philips. However, I agree, that these are not mass products yet, which you can buy in any store. It will still take a while until OLED luminaires will be a commodity and readily available. I think in the next 3 years we will see a development in OLED application areas. At first there will be niche applications, then the range of applications will expand over time, from decorative and design oriented lighting solutions over functional light integrated in various applications down to room and office lighting with progress in technology. It is difficult to predict how far we will get in 3 years on that journey, but I am convinced that we will see more OLED lighting products around us.
Stefan - thanks again for this interview! I wish you and the OLED100.eu project great success...