NEC Lighting Ltd just announced at Light Fair Japan 2013 that it has hit a new industry record for OLED efficiency at 156lm/W. This is trumping the announcement last year from Panasonic for an efficiency of 142lm/W.
The achievement was made in collaboration with professor Junji Kido at Yamagata University, where he runs the Kido Lab. This lab focuses on organic electronics technology, where OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) obviously falls.
The OLED in question was a 2mmx2mm unit, at a color temperature of 2800-3000K. The size of the demonstration unit isn’t particularly practical, but it’s a stepping stone to developing larger panels. In the reports so far, the brightness is listed at 1000cd/m^2 (candella per meter squared), which is about as bright as your average LCD TV. Not super bright, but it’s about on par with most OLED panels that are available today, and is more suited to general lighting rather than the high intensity lighting that we desire as aquarists.
Now, the fact that this efficiency achievement was at such a low color temperature is quite surprising As we have seen with LED technology, the lower the color temperature, the lower the efficiency. Most of the time when we hear about new efficiency breakthroughs, it’s at much higher color temperatures where the phosphor is not kneecapping performance as much. Even with today’s LED technology, 156lm/W is not an easy target to hit at 3000K, so NEC and professor Kido have been making some major strides in OLED development.
Obviously we aren’t going to be seeing this in an aquarium fixture any time soon, but there was also a point where we said that LEDs would never be used either, and look at us now. For the time being, we can see the baby steps being made towards a more commercially viable OLED light source, and fantasize about a razor thin aquarium lamp.
Now, if only they could get the price down…