BASF, Philips claim breakthrough in OLED lighting - for car roofs

January 19, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
BASF and Philips claim they have announced a breakthrough in material research aiming at the development of transparent OLEDs. The companies regard sun roofs for cars as a possible application market.

According to a Philips spokesperson, the innovation lies basically in the material used as for the OLED anode. "OLED make a flat luminary," a Philips spokesperson said. "The next logical step is to make them transparent. Normally, the anodes are made of a thin aluminum layer - which however has the drawback of being opaque. Material scientists from both companies have succeeded in using a silver-based material as the anode. "It is almost transparent", the Philips spokesperson said.

The technology can be integrated into car sun roofs. In the off state, the OLEDs are transparent. Upon the push of the on button, they illuminate the car interior. This OLED lighting concept is the result of many years of research collaboration, the Philips spokesperson explained. As a result of the research conducted, the companies equipped a Smart subcompact vehicle with the OLED sunroof. "The combination of a flat light source and a transparent sun roof gives the driver a unique new sense of space", said Felix Goerth, head of OLED and organic photovoltaics development at BASF Future Business.

In the next step, solar cells will also be integrated into the carrier material. Thus, the electricity required to run the OLED can be generated by the same sun roof. In order to achieve this goal, also a battery needs to be integrated. Since there is no technology in sight to develop transparent batteries, the researchers currently plan to integrate it into the frame of the sunroof.