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Konica Minolta and GE Form Strategic Alliance to Accelerate the Commercialization of OLED Lighting


OLED lighting products could be introduced to market within 3 years,revolutionize lighting as we know it.
Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc., Konica Minolta Technology Center, Inc. (collectively KM) and the General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) today announced that they have signed a strategic alliance agreement to accelerate the development and commercialization of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) devices for lighting applications. The goal is to bring OLED lighting to market within the next 3 years.

Masatoshi Matsuzaki, President, Konica Minolta Technology Center, Inc., said “Having such unprecedented attractive features as flexible, thin, light weight, and sheet form, OLED lighting is considered one of the most promising new business opportunities for us in the future. We are delighted to collaborate with GE to accelerate the development and launching of this revolutionary new lighting technology.”

Michael Idelchik, Vice President, Advanced Technology Programs, GE Global Research, said “The alliance of KM, a world leader in imaging products and GE, a global leader in lighting products, represents an extraordinary opportunity to make the commercialization of OLED lighting products a reality. Both companies have achieved significant advances in OLEDs technologies at the research and development stage. Now, we will pool our substantial resources and expertise to accelerate the development of this transformational technology.”

OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They represent the next evolution in lighting products. Their widespread design capabilities will provide an entirely different way for people to light their home or businesses. Moreover, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving at least the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today.

On June 30, 2006, KM announced that it had successfully developed a white OLED with a world record power efficiency of 64 lumens per watt at 1,000 candela per square meter -- a brightness which is appropriate for lighting applications. Prior to this development, KM developed its own highly efficient and long-life blue phosphorescent materials. Applying these material technologies, along with multi-layer design technology and innovative optical design technology, KM succeeded in developing an OLED having a practical light emission level of approximately 10,000 hours.

In addition to material technology and optical design technology, KM has been developing the ultra-high barrier film fabrication technology to enable high productivity. Superb coating technology nurtured through the development of photographic film and display materials also plays an important role in the development of highly productive OLEDs. Currently, research and development for its commercialization is under way.

GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, has made substantial investments in OLED research that has resulted in world records for OLED lighting device size and efficiency. In 2004, researchers were able to demonstrate an OLED device that was fully functional as a 24 inch by 24-inch panel, which produced 1,200 lumens of light with an efficiency on par with today’s incandescent bulb technology. This was the first demonstration that OLED technology could potentially be used for lighting applications. Since then, GE has more than doubled the level of OLED efficiency using device architectures that are scalable to a large area and can be produced cost-effectively.

In addition to increasing efficiency, GE has focused on developing all the requirements - ranging from plastic film substrates, ultra-high barrier coatings, and fabrication processes and equipment to enable the high speed, cost-effective “roll-to-roll” manufacturing -- required to produce large-area OLED lighting.

GE Consumer & Industrial Vice President Michael Petras said, “In a world demanding higher standards for energy efficiency and environmental performance, OLED lighting has the potential to become a major lighting source on both fronts. And because OLED lighting is soft and diffused, it will create some exciting application opportunities for designers and specifiers. The applications are numerous, ranging from ceiling lighting for office and residential applications to interior automotive and aircraft lighting to many specialty lighting applications such as task lighting, sign and various forms of interior retail lighting.”

In the coming months, KM and GE will further accelerate research and development of the OLED lighting by sharing technologies and knowledge. KM’s technology center will lead the research and development activities for KM. GE Global Research, GE’s centralized research and development organization, and GE’s Consumer and Industrial business division will lead research and developments for GE.


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