Second Chance for OLED Lighting?

By Dr Norman Bardsley & Dr Khasha Ghaffarzadeh

(PresseBox) ( Quy, Cambridge, )
OLED technology is improving rapidly and now gives the best performance in displays for mobile phones. The technology has also reached the level at which substantial penetration of the lighting market might be possible, provided stringent cost targets can be met. Light fixtures such as those shown below have created excitement amongst lighting designers and luminaire manufacturers. Indeed, the initial driver for market adoption is likely to be based on design features of OLEDs, as opposed to its efficiency or cost savings.

Since forecasts for the sales volume of OLED lighting in 2020 range from less than $60m to almost $30b, there is clearly a need for a detailed understanding of the challenges involved in cost reduction and the relative merits of LED and OLED approaches to diffuse light sources. These two issues are explored in depth in the IDTechEx report "OLED Lighting Opportunities 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players" (www.IDTechEx.com/oled).

Substantial reductions in the costs of organic materials are anticipated as attention amongst display makers switches from small cell phone panels to large screen TVs. Material utilization is being improved substantially through the design of more efficient deposition techniques, both using traditional evaporation methods and solution processing. Printed electronics is offering new ways to form the current conducting structures, eliminating expensive photolithographic techniques, providing opportunities for the introduction of new materials, such as silver nanowires.

These advances in manufacturing methods have come too late to allow OLEDs to participate significantly in the first stage of introduction of solid state lighting. However this phase has been dominated by sales of replacement lamps, a market segment that is not suited to OLEDs. Because of the long lifetime of LED sources, the replacement market is expected to saturate sometime between 2016 and 2020. The industry will then focus upon more innovative lighting systems, leading to increased demand for the non-traditional form factors offered by OLEDs.

Although stiff competition is expected from luminaires with embedded inorganic LEDs, the transfer of this technology from display backplanes to innovative lighting fixtures is moving very slowly. Thus there will be a fine market opportunity for those OLED manufacturers who can meet their cost and performance targets in this time period.

Essential Report

Grasping this opportunity will require greater cooperation amongst participants in the whole supply chain for OLED lighting and a broader understanding of what is needed to translate great technology in the laboratory to market success. The IDTechEx report "OLED Lighting Opportunities 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players" provides a comprehensive analysis of the critical issues. The report should be invaluable to companies at all levels of manufacturing and investors who are confused by the diversity of market forecasts.

The key market-related figures in this report are:

- 10-year cost projection for OLED BoM (bill of materials) broken down by layer, i.e., encapsulation, integrated substrates and active materials.
- 10-year forecast for OLED lighting broken down by sector and given in sqm, lumen and monetary value. Sectors considered include residential, hospitality, office, outdoor, industrial, architectural and shop.
- 10-year forecasts for total OLED lighting production capacity.
- 10-year forecast for LED market size (at lamp/module level) divided by application sector.
- Estimated accumulated production capacity for LED wafers.
- Assessment of selling points for each lighting market sector.

The key technical aspects covered in the report are:

- LED costs, efficiency roadmaps, latest product concepts, and device structures.
- OLED materials (active material including hole and electron transport layers), performance measures and roadmaps, OLED product concepts, and OLED manufacturing.

For more information on OLED lighting, read "OLED Lighting Opportunities 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players" and attend the forthcoming IDTechEx event "OLEDs LIVE! Europe 2014".
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