Philips and BASF recently teamed up to create a hot new technology that could be the “it” feature in upcoming luxury electric vehicles – an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) that also acts as a window when switched off. The technology allows drivers to have a clear view outside of the car while driving, or alternatively, a brightly lit interior when the switch is flipped. The researchers believe they could pair their new transparent OLED light with solar cells to create a self-powered, interior lighting sunroof.
“This combination allows the driver to enjoy a unique open-space feeling while it generates electricity during the day and pleasantly suffuses the interior with the warm light of the transparent, highly efficient OLEDs at night,” said Dr. Felix Görth, head of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes and Organic Photovoltaics at BASF Future Business GmbH. OLED technology is a kind of high-efficiency lighting made up of tiny organic compounds which illuminate when hit with an electric current.
The Philips and BASF researchers have placed those organic compounds within a transparent plastic piece that they could either tile or expand to cover the roof of a car. When paired with a transparent solar cell these lights could not only give the driver a pleasant cruising experience but also provide energy to run their vehicle. The entire surface of an OLED light gives off a glow, making truly flat panels of lighting possible. This OLED light is just 1.8 millimeters thin. From the look of these OLEDs it looks like Cash Cab might be their first customer.