BASF the European chemical company and Osram Opto Semiconductors a part of the Siemens conglomerate of Germany have announced that they have an organic light emitting diode that delivers more than 60 lumens per watt of energy used. If you check the box of the common incandescent or even the latest compact florescent bulbs you will see that OLED are definitely on the prowl for some of the future’s market for lighting with a four fold improvement over incandescent so far.

But that is only a part of the news release that while great is followed by an even more important improvement. We are all looking for a “white” light bulb. The whiteness is measured by the color temperature, something you might be familiar with when setting a higher quality computer monitor that offers choices to the red or blue range of white.

Some of you have non organic LEDs and know that the “white” or color temperature can really leave a lot to be desired with way to much blue. The BASF and Osram OLED is now up to the temperature ranges that are acceptable in the “Plank Curve” a part of the Energy Star SSL Standard. What that means is the new OLEDs can stay within the desired white light ranges over varied intensities.

As many readers know, Germany is on an intense effort to produce renewable electricity and improve efficiencies because leading has a highly increased price for the watt-hours to the German consumer. They are to say the least, very motivated. So this high yield of lumens in the nice white light range is big news over there and is a major step on the way to commercializing products for consumer sales.

Germans being Germans are sponsoring the research from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research with each company taking specific roles. The chemistry seems to be coming out of BASF then combined (built) by the Siemens’ Osram company into working units for the tests. The project is called “OLEDs for Applications on the Lighting Market” or “OPAL.”

BASF PEMs Under UV Light

BASF PEMs Under UV Light

The new OLEDs contain phosphorescent metal complexes as emitter materials and customized complementary materials, which ensure optimum constancy of the color temperatures. That means that, owing to the use of new materials, the diodes are very color-stable even when there are variations in luminous intensity. The challenge now is to optimize the life of these OLEDs, especially by stabilizing the blue emitters.

The BASF researchers are dealing with the material side of the developing the optimum component structures. OPAL has other partners besides Osram, a not so common company in the U.S., including Philips a company name you’ll likely recognize in the U.S.

Technically OLEDs need to combine red, blue and green light to emit white. OLED has for some time been weak in having a source for deep blue, something those regular LEDs are not missing. In 2003 BASF got a foothold on making the deep blue by developing a new class of materials based on an iridium complex.

The effort isn’t finished. “Our aim is to develop stable blue phosphorescence emitters. Whilst the color coordinates and efficiencies of the new blue OLEDs are already outstanding, the service life still presents many challenges,” explains Dr. Elmar Keßenich, OLED project manager at BASF Future Business GmbH. “If we manage to produce deep-blue stable emitters, that will open up the way for us to make white OLED light tiles with a light yield of more than 100 lm/W.” Getting there would be a major accomplishment as the 60-watt incandescent bulbs here on my desk are only 14.16 lumens per watt. That illustrates the improvement that OLEDs could offer.

The press release goes on to say — In future, organic light-emitting diodes will be suitable for general lighting as flat sources of light – for offices or as decorative lighting in stores. And they not only offer the potential of being considerably more economical than conventional low-energy bulbs in terms of electricity consumption, but are also capable of being used in a variety of ways as flat, transparent and, in future also, flexible sources of light. They will provide completely new opportunities in terms of design and performance − in part owing to newly developed semiconductor materials from BASF. “The challenge now lies with the process engineers to apply these high efficiencies economically to large active areas,” says Dr. Karsten Heuser, OPAL Coordinator and Director OLED Lighting Technology at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.

I’m expecting a lot of improvement in LED and OLED. The compact fluorescents I bought first are far exceeded in light output quality and issue free use by the ones I purchased more recently. When the color of the white improves and cost per lumen goes down the LED and OLED will find a welcome buyer here.


Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind