Light Bulb Went Out? Print A New One!

Dennis Faas's picture

After acknowledging the recent surge in popularity of O.L.E.D. technology and experimenting with several new ideas, General Electric has stumbled onto something that (if successful) will undoubtedly become the way future generations light their rooms.

In recent weeks, the company has run numerous tests using a 'roll-to-roll' process to print out continuous organic light-emitting diodes (O.L.E.D.s) at a fraction of the current cost. Basically, the company has found a way to literally print off a set of miniature working lights from a printing press.

All experiments performed thus far were deemed successful by company standards. Researchers at General Electric were even able to print out an 8-foot line of O.L.E.D. lights and illuminate them all without any complications. (Source:

O.L.E.D.s are thin organic materials packed between two electrodes. These electrodes light up when an electrical charge is applied to them. Since O.L.E.D.s do not require any kind of bulky backlighting to function, the diodes can be wafer thin and extremely compact.

The reason O.L.E.D.s have not been used in a more mainstream way is because the diodes are made of glass and produced in small quantities at a time. This makes diodes a costly alternative to simply light a room.

General Electric has now found a new way to lower costs simply by changing the material used from glass to flexible plastic, which can be run through a printing press. Of course, initial plastic O.L.E.D.s require a special printing press manufactured exclusively by Energy Conversion Devices. (Source:

While still many years away from replacing standard light bulbs, the new O.L.E.D. technology is twice as efficient as regular incandescent bulbs. Since the company is basically building a new light source from scratch, the ultimate goal is to provide the consumer with a much more efficient and longer-lasting product than other light sources currently available on the market.

The world will not have to wait very long to test out their own printed lights. General Electric representatives are estimating that the new O.L.E.D.s could be on the market in less than two years.

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