The team at Universal Display Corporation recently unveiled prototypes of a sleek, modular OLED kitchen light that blows away a set of environmental specifications proposed in a challenge funded in part by the US Department of Energy. OLED technology has been progressing at high-speed toward commercial viability in the last few years, but researchers have had trouble perfecting white lights that are bright, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. The undercabinet lighting created by Universal Display is a major engineering achievement – it matches the typical ratings of a CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb, but with the added benefits of light source being paper-thin and mercury free!
Those gathered at the recent Optic + Photonics Conference in San Diego, were privileged to see the systems of linking lights, which have a life span of more than 12,000 hours (which beats the DOE suggested life by more than 20%) and a system efficacy of 71 lumens per watt. This rating calculates the light output versus the energy input – to put things in perspective, it’s three times higher than what is required by the DOE’s Energy Star certification program for undercabinet lighting. In addition, these OLED lights are completely cool to the touch.
Universal Display’s prototype, designed by in-house designer Emory Krall, is a modular light cell that can be linked end to end or connected with a cord. The whole system is controlled by an attached switching module.
Although this technology was shown mounted under kitchen cabinets, it is a proof of concept that will likely translate to many other light fixtures. Steven V. Abramson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Display, says that “by demonstrating white OLED luminaires in an under-cabinet application, we are also highlighting the numerous advantages and benefits that white OLED panels offer to this and a variety of other lighting applications.”