Since before the invention of the incandescent light bulb, lighting in the home has been accomplished by the use of point light sources. As candlelight and gas lamps transitioned to electrical lighting, room light sources continued to be localized, either as light fixtures in the ceiling, or as lamps or accent lighting located for specific uses like reading or security lighting.
As new forms of lighting emerge from technological advances, it is possible that a new paradigm for lighting design will emerge. At recent trade shows, companies like Verbatim are unveiling new light panels made from organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs.
Figure 1 Source: www.specifile.co.za
Unlike conventional LED lighting, OLEDs are made from organic molecules, forming a material that can be manufactured as thin, flexible lighting sources. In order to get sufficient illumination from OLED lighting, the surface area of light emission needs to be larger than the conventional point source lighting.
Organic LED lights are dimmable and can be color tunable. They can emit white light that can either be bright, task-oriented light, or can be dimmed for softer, evening lighting. Designers can incorporate the lighting color and intensity into rooms as design elements.
While the integration of OLED lighting is appealing from a design point of view, the current cost of and OLED lighting source equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb is over $2500 US. A recent market analysis study by Lux reports that this may fall to around $180 by the end of the decade, a cost that would still be at a level that is not competitive with other light sources, but is competitive with the cost of high-end light fixtures. Hence, if design elements are incorporated into the light source, consumers may not notice a difference in the total cost of lighting within a room.
Despite the expense, a white ceiling fixture consisting of 150 cm x 150 cm panels is currently under development by United Display Corporation (UDC), and is expected to be on the market within two years.
Figure 2 Source optics.org/news/1/4/29
The niche market for the product will include areas where it is undesirable to have any UV light emission, such as museums and art galleries, since OLED lights can be designed to have no UV emission. Homeowners who collect rare books or art may also appreciate this aspect of OLED lighting, as UV light tends to deteriorate antique or delicate materials.
A spokesperson from UDC expects that OLED lighting will be mixed with conventional solid state lighting in the future in residential applications where a combination of diffuse and point source lighting is desired. Even if prices fall in the near future, it is hard to imagine room lighting coming from a distributed source as opposed to a point source. This paradigm shift in lighting may prove to be a difficult adjustment for the average homeowner.Log in to post comments