Thin and Flexible LED Lighting Panels
Ultra-thin and flexible forms is the next big thing in general lighting and illuminated electronic displays and signs. Large-area, surface-emitting illumination panels that are sufficiently thin and can be easily flexed is a critical component for the future LED lighting fixtures, curved TV screens, bendable smartphones and similar devices. Edge-lit lighting panels employing inorganic LEDs and sheets of light-guiding plastic are now widely used for lighting fixtures and LCD backlights. However, they suffer from the trade-off between the panel brightness and its thickness. In other words, in order to have high enough brightness for most applications, the panel needs to be sufficiently thick to accommodate the size of high-brightness LEDs coupled to an edge of the light guide. As a result, edge-lit devices still lack the thinness needed to satisfy the growing demand for high-brightness, flexible-forms panels. Organic LEDs (or OLEDs) do not have this problem as they are inherently surface-emitting devices and can be made using quite thin and flexible substrates. However, OLEDs are currently very expensive which limits their adoption to luxury product categories. In short, there is a need for a low-cost surface-emitting panels that can provide high light output at a low cost and that can be flexed with ease.