An organic light emitting diodes (OLED) is a relatively new technology, although it has actually been studied as far back as the 1950’s. The current studies and practical uses and development for OLED technology are a large part of the advancements in motor vehicle industry right now. Some manufacturers of televisions are working the technology into new product lines, as are camera and other electronic manufacturers whose products use any kind of display. OLED technology has also been used in developing some light panels for varied uses including interior lighting of workspaces and homes.
OLED lights for cars is an exciting development in the automobile industry, as there are many ways in which the technology may be applied. For example, the display panel in a car can easily be powered by an OLED. This is already in use in at least two types of cars on the market and in at least two concept cars from other manufacturers. The OLED is perfectly suited to this kind of display because it can display very deep black as well as light so that the displays can be crisp and easy to use while also showing a higher contrast than LCD and LED backlights. They are also very thin and lightweight which is something car makers are always looking for in order to make more compact, efficient vehicles.
Another use for the OLED in cars is for interior lighting. There are developments in solar panel/OLED combinations for sun roofs which are powered by the solar panel components and used by the OLED components to light the interior of the vehicle. This can be turned on or off as needed in the car. Beyond basic interior lighting, there is currently development in creating transparent OLEDs for the windows of vehicles. When switched off, the window is transparent for driving. When switched on however, the windows become light panels to illuminate the interior of the vehicle. The possible applications for this window type OLED in recreational vehicles such as motor homes and travel trailers are very promising.
Vehicle Exterior OLED
Beyond the uses inside a vehicle, such lights may well be used in OLED headlights, OLED brake lights, OLED tail lights, OLED trailer lighting and OLED motorcycle lights within a just two or three years. There are major trials going on right now for such uses. Although OLED brake lights have not yet been mastered, it has been proven that they can work very well as tail lights, OLED fog lights and more.
The Future of OLED lighting
The applications for OLED lighting are growing quickly as all types of manufacturers and commercial uses are considered. The technology is advancing very rapidly at this point and it appears that it will soon be a mainstream method of lighting in a cost effective and efficient way.
How it Works
The simplest explanation of how OLED technology works is that a series of very thin layers of organic (carbon based) film is placed between two electrical conductors. A bright light is emitted by the organic film when a current is applied. The organic layer can be comprised of different phosphorescent carbon molecules or sometimes with polymers with the same qualities.
The electrical conducting layers are made from organic molecules as well, but these are conductive rather than phosphorescent. A cathode is used to inject the organic material with a current that in turn causes the OLED to emit light.
The substrate layer of an OLED is the material that supports everything. It is what the conductor layers and light emitting layers are mounted onto. It is sometimes made of foil and sometimes made from plastic or even glass.
All these ultra thin layers of materials that make up an OLED are assembled either by a vacuum process (which can be costly and wasteful) or by a low pressure reactive chamber where the materials are condensed into very thin film. This is usually considered to be a more affordable way to produce OLEDs.
OLEDs can also be manufactured in a method similar to inkjet printing. In this process the layers are sprayed onto film or even onto paper. This is generally used for large display purposes such as billboard displays.
The Advantages of OLED over Older Technology
Although LCD technology was a huge advancement for displays, OLED technology now has many advantages over the older display technology. OLEDs appear more effective and efficient that LED technology as well.
For one thing, it uses less power for the same amount of light displayed. Power saving is always preferable, no matter what the application. Even using less power, OLED provides a brighter screen with more viewable angles.
OLEDs are even thinner and lighter than the older technology, making them even more efficient use of space no matter what the application. They can even provide transparent display. The refresh rate on an OLED display is also much faster which of course, provides a better, more stable display output.