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).



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.

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 Fraunhofer FEP developed a wearable OLED lighting button, is ready to help commercialize the technology

Researchers at the Fraunhofer FEP institute developed a new wearable OLED-based "button" that can be integrated into textiles. The OLEDs can be designed in any shape, be transparent, dimmable and also patterned. There is also a two-color variant.

Fraunhofer FEP O-Button photo

The Fraunhofer develops say that such elements can be used for fashion trends, branding, safety applications, light therapy and more. The so-called O-Button is based on an OLED deposited on a wafer-thin foil combined with a microcontroller on a conventional circuit board.

Wegmans to test OLED lighting solutions at select stores and work sites

US-based supermarket chain Wegmans Food Markets partnered with OLEDWorks to bring OLED lighting installations to select Wegmans stores and work sites. Wegmans says it wants to test better-quality lighting solutions for its customers and employees.

Acuity Brands Olessence photo

The Wegmans stores will use Acuity Brands' Peerless OLE4 Oleseence suspended luminaries that combine direct-view OLEDs with LEDs. The first initial tests will take place at Wegmans' Pittsford and Henrietta stores and the company's Rochester headquarters (at employee meeting and dining areas). The HQ installations will use Acuity Brands' Trilia installations and the Petal and Limit from Milwaukee-based Visa Lighting.

OLED for VR and AR Market Report

Here are Bugatti's new OLED taillights

Last week Bugatti announced it is set to unveil its new Divo "hypercar" - and that it will feature OLED tail lights. So Bugatti indeed unveiled its latest car, and you can see the OLED lights below:

Bugatti Divo OLED taillights photo

Unfortunately, Bugatti did not disclose any details regarding these OLED taillights, hopefully we'll know more soon about these beautiful modules.

The UK launches a new project that aims to improve airtight bonding in OLED lighting devices

The UK innovation agency (Innovate UK) has launched a new 30-month project called UltraWELD, which aims to improve airtight bonding in OLED lighting for aerospace and defense applications. The project partners will develop photonic-based processes for highly dissimilar material joining.

UltraWELD - OLED OPV prototyping line at the CPI

Current dissimilar materials joining is mainly done using adhesive bonding - a highly flexible and low cost process, but one that cannot provide truly hermetic bonds, which reduces the performance of the panels and can lead to optical damage.

The EU launches Lyteus, a €14 million initiative to support PI-SCALE OLED lighting projects

In 2016 the EU launched the PI-SCALE project, which established a European-wide roll-to-roll flexible OLED lighting pilot production line, with an aim to enable companies of all sizes to quickly and cost effectively test and scale up their flexible OLED lighting concepts.

Now the EU has launched a €14 million initiative within PI-SCALE called LYTEUS, which provides the expertise and capability required to progress an OLED lighting concept from an idea and into a commercialized product. Lyteus helps companies with sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll prototyping of flexible OLEDs, technology transfer, device encapsulation and more. At launch Lyteus serves four customers: Audi, Rehau, Emde and Pilkington, to develop flexible OLED lighting products in the automotive, aeronautics and designer luminaires sectors.

US and Taiwan researchers call for the adoption of healthier light technologies

Researchers from Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) and lighting expert Prof. George C. Brainard (one of the principle investigators of the SSL program for the International Space Station) have teamed up for a public call for the adoption of healthier lights.

Good lights save life (NTHU & ISS)

The researchers aim to collaboration to accelerate the development of healthier lights, which are connected to a range of health problems, including breast and prostate cancers. NTHU's blue-light free candle-light OLEDs may prove to be a good solution to night time lighting.

The DoE announces a new $15 million LED+OLED R&D funding drive

The US Department of Energy (DoE) announced a new $15 million funding drive for innovative early solid-state-lighting (SSL) research. With this new funding round, the DoE aims to accelerate the development of high-quality LED and OLED products.

OLED lighting at Baskin Robbins Brown, Seoul

The new funding round includes four areas: core LED, OLED and cross-cutting lighting technology research, prototype and proof-of-concept development of LEDs and OLEDs, advanced fabrication R&D and innovative lighting in a limited mock field application. In total, the DoE will fund about 10-15 cost-sharing projects from industry, academia, and national laboratories.

ITRI expands its pilot R2R flexible OLED lighting line

Taiwan's ITRI institute says that recent advances in OLED materials and production methods has enabled it to greatly reduce OLED lighting production costs. Recent technical achievements at ITRI include a new flexible substrate transfer, R2R production process integration, and soft light source system design.

ITRI FOLED tree photo

In 2016 ITRI constructed a pilot roll-to-roll production line for flexible OLEDs. ITRI now says that these technical achievements will enable it to increase the production line capacity for 50,000 monthly panels. ITRI also developed a new flexible OLED that weighs only 10.7 grams and is less than 0.5 mm thick.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters