Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) can be used for TVs, computer displays, cell phones and PDAs. These multi-layered devices produce light by running an electrical current through a specially engineered host material into which light-producing phosphorescent molecules are embedded or “doped.”

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The technology also holds significant potential as a general area light source, creating the potential for lighting wallpaper and integration of lighting within furniture, equipment and building materials.
The white light envisioned for large-scale applications consists of red, green and blue light. Right now, however, OLEDs emit less light per area than point-source LEDs.

“The weakest link in OLED research is the absence of an efficient, long-lasting blue light to accompany the red and green,” said Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist Asanga Padmaperuma. Development of better host materials to manage the flow of electricity through the device could help solve that problem.

Padmaperuma and his colleagues recently announced that they have designed, synthesized and tested new materials that improve the power efficiency of blue OLEDs by at least 25%, bringing us one step closer to the possibilities offered by OLED architectural lighting.

As my colleague Kevin Willmorth has told me numerous times, the Revolution is not about LEDs, it’s about solid-state lighting.