Osram sees OLEDs for cars within reach

September 02, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the run-up to the Frankfurt International Motor Show, lighting company Osram has detailed its plans to develop organic LEDs (OLEDs) for use automotive applications. The company believes OLEDs as a serial feature are only three years away.

“We have essentially achieved road suitability for our OLEDs this year and will be offering initial special equipment based on OLEDs next year", says Ulrich Eisele, who oversees Osram's OLED activites. "In 2016 at the latest, we expect to see OLEDs used in series production of new vehicles."

Osram demonstrated initial research successes with organic LEDs last year. Temperature stability, the most significant obstacle to series production, was increased at the critical point of 85 degrees Celsius to a record level of several hundred operating hours - which however is light years away of the operating life expectancy of standard LEDs which typically work for more than 20.000 hours. Osram, nevertheless believes that this discrepancy can be solved soon. “After a further year of research, the remaining obstacles regarding serial production are small,” says Eisele.

OLEDs are surface light sources and therefore perfect for the use in applications such as rear light fixtures. Transparent OLEDs also offer new design possibilities for those applications.

At last year's electronica trade fair, Osram unveiled a demonstrator for OLED deployment in cars. The company announced to present a successor this year that meets the requirements for road traffic not only in matters of tail lights but also in brake light applications. These are defined internationally in the standards of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). It is also possible to divide the homogenous light area into dynamically controllable segments, thereby creating a distinct lighting scenario, for example by clicking on the door lock remote control. The OLED rear light fixture can also be seen as part of the tenth “International Symposium on Automotive Lighting” (ISAL) in Darmstadt (Germany) at the end of September.