Osram and lighting designer Ingo Maurer unveil OLED table lamp

April 8, 2008
The limited-edition table lamp shows the potential of using OLEDs as flexible or transparent light sources with a uniform light-generating surface.
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors and lighting designer Ingo Maurer have unveiled a revolutionary lighting application based on organic LEDs (OLEDs) at the Light+Building Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Ingo Maurer is the first to use OLEDs from OSRAM in a functioning table light.
“Early Future" table lamp The limited-edition light, known as “Early Future,” shines with tiles directly from the OSRAM laboratory and demonstrates the enormous potential of using OLEDs to create future applications with eye-catching illumination and design elements.

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors made prototypes of OLEDs available to the designer for his exclusive creation.

“We are proud that our OLEDs have inspired such a renowned artist as Ingo Maurer to create such an exciting work of art. Early Future is a vision that has become reality. It gives us a glimpse of just how versatile organic OLEDs can be in terms of their design options and applications,” said Martin Goetzeler, CEO of OSRAM.

OLED tiles Ingo Maurer used OLED tiles with an area of 132 x 33mm for his creation. For Maurer, unusual design is not an end in itself. “Early Future represents an important stage in the transition from abstract object to functional designer lighting,” he said. Maurer has been shaping developments in light-as-art and lighting design for many years. In 1966 he exhibited the designer luminaire Bulb which has been on exhibit in the New York Museum of Modern Art since 1969 along with other works of his. Through the years, Ingo Maurer has received numerous awards for his avant-garde work with light.

Organic LEDs offer all the familiar benefits of LEDs such as high energy efficiency, low operating voltage and mercury-free design, and also have some impressive properties of their own. The light source is not a collection of individual light points but a uniform light-generating surface. Initial laboratory prototypes from OSRAM showed last year the property of transparent light in a usable tile size. Thanks to the layer structure, it is possible to produce not only very thin OLEDs but also scalable ones.

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors has a team of ~50 research engineers working on the development of OLEDs, turning what may seem like science fiction applications into reality. “In the future it will be possible to use OLEDs as flexible or transparent light sources. A transparent OLED over a window in a roof would allow natural light in during the day and provide fascinating illumination for the room at night,” said Dr. Bernhard Stapp, head of Solid State Lighting at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors.

There are possible applications for these new light sources in the automotive industry as well. Rear lighting elements could someday be integrated entirely within the rear windshield.