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

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.

OLED Handbook

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 great 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.

OTI Lumioncs launches its new Aerelight for print technology, aiming to embed flexible OLED lighting in print media

OTI Lumionics launched a new technology it calls Aerelight for Print technology, which uses paper-thin flexible OLED panels to light elements in print media.

OTI says that in order to enable low-cost production of flexible OLEDs, it designed its own manufacturing technology and advanced materials. This includes the company's own proprietary FlexTorr encapsulation technology.

Is OSRAM pulling out of the OLED lighting market?

One of our readers reported that during the Light + Building trade show earlier this month, an OSRAM official said that OSRAM is pulling out of the OLED lighting market, and the company will stop all OLED R&D immediately.

BMW concept M4 GTS OLED closeup

This is very unfortunate news. OSRAM is the supplier of OLED Lighting panels to Audi and BMW, and according to the OSRAM official the company will continue to provide product support for both automakers until 2020.

Merck and OLEDWorks bring their textile-based OLED+OPV installation to Frankfurt

In September 2017, Merck, OLEDWorks, OPVIUS and Kolon launched a new textile-based OLED lighting and OPV installation (called "Do we dream under the same sky") at the first Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.

Do we dream under the same sky (Frankfurt 2018)

Merck now brought the same installation to Frankfurt during the Light + Building 2018, and the company also gave us more details about this interesting installation.

OLEDWorks uses BASF barrier as a planarization layer in its new Brite 3 OLED lighting panels

A few days ago OLEDWorks announces its new OLED lighting series, the Brite 3 OLEDs, which include OLEDWorks' first flexible OLED lighting panels, branded as BendOLEDs.

OLEDWorks BendOLED product photo

BASF's Coatings division announced that OLEDWorks uses the company's flexible barrier solutions in its Bright 3 family of OLED panels (both flexible and rigid). OLEDWorks uses BASF materials as planarization layer to enable highly reliable thin-film encapsulation.

Ten German companies establish a new OLED lighting forum

Ten Germany-based companies established a new OLED lighting alliance, called the "OLED Licht Forum" that aim to develop and promote OLED lighting technologies through dialogue and expert exchange. The forum will also organize conferences, lectures and institution visits.

The forum was founded by OLEDWorks, OSRAM, Merck, BASF coatings, EMDE, Fraunhofer, Hema electronic, Irlbacher, APEVA and WALO-TL. One of the first activities will be to create an OLED showroom in Germany that will be open to the public.

OLEDWorks announces new rigid and flexible OLED lighting panels

OLEDWorks announces two new OLED lighting panels, the rigid Lumiblade Brite 3 panels and the BendOLED flexible ones.

OLEDWorks Brite 3 OLED panels

The Brite 3 OLEDs are more efficient than OLEDWorks' current Brite 2 OLEDs, offering an efficiency of up to 85 lm/W. The brightness is 300 lumens (8,500 cd/m2) and the lifetime is 100,000 hours (L70, at 100 lumens). The Brite 3 OLEDs are available in two colors and offer a CRI of >90. The Brite 3 are offered in three product shapes: square, rectangle and round. These Lumiblade panels will be produced at OLEDWorks' Aachen production site.

LG's Crystal Sound turns flexible OLED lighting panels to speakers

In early 2017 LG introduced its Crystal Sound OLED technology, which vibrates a flexible OLED display panel and turns it into a speaker. This technology can create seamless OLED TV designs that do not require speakers.

LGD Crystal Sound OLED lighting speakers (L+B 2018)

In a very natural move, LGD announced today that it will bring the Crystal Sound technology to its OLED lighting panels as well. LGD will unveil the first OLED lighting speakers at the Light and Building tradeshow next week in Germany. You can see a couple of such lighting speaker designs above.