June 9, 2009 With their impressive energy efficiency, flat form and incandescent brightness, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) look to be a shoo-in as the next generation of lighting. Although the limited lifespan of the organic materials used in OLEDs has posed problems. Scientists around the globe have been toiling away to find ways to overcome this drawback and now South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has developed a white OLED lamp that has a lifetime of 10,000 hours – 20 percent longer than existing fluorescent lamps.

The ETRI-developed lamp boasts an efficiency of 70 lumens per watt. If that doesn’t mean much, consider that typical incandescent lamps have an efficiency of just 15 lumens per watt. Apart from being more than four times more efficient, the OLED lamp is also more environmentally friendly when it has burned out, as it contains no mercury.

According to ETRI, "there are currently no commercial OLEDs in production, but they are expected to make an appearance in late 2010, with full scale production to begin around 2015 when they may start to replace conventional light sources."

Although South Korea is the largest producer of OLED displays in the world, ETRI spent three years working on the OLED lamp in a bid to catch up to other parts of the world. It had believed its OLED research lagged as much as five years behind Europe, Japan and the United States.

ETRI believes its development of the OLED lamp is important if South Korea wants a share of the global OLED lighting market, which is expected to be worth about US$2.4 billion by 2015.

Sources: Korea IT Times, Telecoms Korea.