Feeds

Bulb busting light source invented

Edison rotates in poorly-lit grave

The Power of One Infographic

Researchers working on organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs) have made a critical jump that could finally call lights out time for the humble bulb. Since OLEDs are transparent when switched off, the prospect is of whole surfaces like walls, windows, or even curtains flooding rooms with brilliant white light.

University of Southern California Professor Mark Thompson said: “This process will enable us to get 100 percent efficiency out of a single, broad spectrum light source.”

The American team's breakthrough was to make OLEDs able to emit the daylight-style white light needed in homes and offices. Previous efforts had had struggled to get the full spectrum of wavelengths required.

OLEDs are made of four ultrathin layers; one for each of the primary colours, and one that does the actual light emitting as excited electrons fall back to their original energy state.

The problem was with the blue phosphorescent layer, which wasn't as efficient as the other two and short-lived. Thompson's team switched the blue layer's phosphorescent chemical for a fluorescent one. The subtle difference in the speed of the electron's energy transitions between phosphorescence and fluorescence can be adjusted for, without losing energy.

OLEDs do not produce heat like a traditional incandescent filament bulb, and are even more efficient that current energy-saving fluorescent bulbs. In a current fluorescent bulb the colours are all produced in a single layer, which causes some of the light to be lost by electrons combining with each other rather than radiating light.

The only hurdle left for the technology, Thompson says is for the plastic coating to be improved so that water cannot degrade the OLED. They will only need replacing every five to ten years.

The invention has obvious tech applications. Companies are already looking into it for mobile screens, and flat panel displays.®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.