Energy department gives $4 million toward factory for new type of lighting _ flat OLED panels

By Peter Svensson, AP
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Energy dept. gives $4M for OLED factory project

NEW YORK — A new type of power-efficient lighting — thin, flat panels of materials known as organic light-emitting diodes — is getting an injection of federal stimulus money.

Universal Display Corp. said this week that it and a partner company are getting $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a pilot factory for OLEDs. The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the bill that provided $787 billion in economic stimulus funds.

Universal Display is based in Ewing, N.J., but the location of the plant has not been decided yet. The aim is to get it up and running in two years, supplying U.S. lamp manufacturers with 6-by-6 inch panels so they can start to learn how to use OLEDs and incorporate them in their designs.

Universal Display, which develops OLEDs, is partnering with Moser Baer Technologies, an Indian company that makes DVDs and solar cells. These companies are contributing $4.3 million of their own money to the project.

OLEDs promise to use less power and provide pleasant light that needs little diffusion, because it comes from a wide panel rather than a small point, like light bulbs. The technology has been held back by manufacturing difficulties and because the OLEDs are very sensitive to oxygen, so they need to be tightly sealed in layers of plastic.

General Electric Co. is another big player in OLEDs and already has a small production line that “prints” the lights on plastic tape. Its plan has been to commercialize OLEDs this year, at least in small quantities.

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