by Jin S. Kim
Rather than being emitted in the form of points, the light generated by OLEDs shines out over a relatively large area compared to LEDs and is extremely homogeneous in appearance. Consequently, OLEDs are suitable for use in exterior lighting functions that are primarily designed for being seen. Rather than replacing conventional LEDs, however, OLEDs will complement them. Initial applications in production cars could see OLEDs taking over the function of the tail light as part of a so-called hybrid light, while brake lights and turn signals continue to employ LEDs.
I expect unprecedented OLED tail light designs in a few years.
The OLED technology in BMW Organic Light and its possible uses open up tremendous potential for automotive design. When they are first launched, the organic LEDs will be two-dimensional in appearance with a luminous area that can be shaped as desired, and will look like a reflective surface when switched off. As development progresses, flexible OLEDs that are also transparent will be brought out. Three-dimensional OLEDs with freely definable shapes are a likely prospect in the medium term. The fact that OLEDs are formable and require neither reflectors nor lenses paves the way for a whole new range of uses that are not feasible at the current time.