University of Florida researchers are close to discovering a new type of LED lighting having the advantages of both an incandescent light bulb (light quality) and a fluorescent one (very low energy consumption).

The researchers have achieved a new record in efficiency of blue organic LEDs (OLEDs). Blue is essential to white light, but until now it has not been possible producing it efficiently. The new OLEDs are even much more efficient than compact fluorescents, and can produce a quality light similar to your incandescent bulb up there.

“The quality of the light is really the advantage,” said Franky So, a UF associate professor of materials science and engineering and the lead investigator on the project.

The main difference between a LED and an OLED is that OLEDs are built from organic semiconductors (such as those making up organic solar cells), while LEDs are built in silicon, an inorganic material. OLEDs have higher efficiency, better color saturation and a larger viewing angle. They’re already used in cell phones, cameras and PDAs. Sony introduced an OLED flat TV recently.  

I heard it said that OLED televisions will be "better than reality".  Just a short while ago, tiny OLED displays cost about $5 million. Now they’re getting cheap enough that by Christmas 2010, we should be able to afford OLED TVs and we'll be using OLEDs instead of our light bulbs.

We at are committed to bringing you OLED bulbs as soon as they are affordable. Keep checking here, and subscribe to our blog feed over there on the right, and you'll know the second they're available.

Franky So and his team achieved an efficiency of 50 lumens/watt (lumen = measure of the light brightness perceived by the human eye). Their goal is to achieve white light with an efficiency higher than 100 lumens/watt.

To create the white light, they combine many OLEDs of the three colours making up the white colour (red+green+blue). It’s a process similar to that of a cathodic ray TV set. They’re so small that the eye can’t see them individually from a distance, and each of those LEDs has an individual light – the result is a clear, pure white light. “The quality of the light generated can easily be tuned by using different color emitters” he said. “You can make it red, green, blue or white.”