Based on its recent analysis of the organic light emitting diode (OLED) solid state lighting (SSL) market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Kodak with the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Award for OLED Lighting Enabling Technology of the Year for its consistency in driving OLED technology into the lighting space. Kodak aims to enable the OLED SSL and flat panel industries through advanced OLED architecture development, improved materials, and innovative manufacturing processes. The company provides a wide range of novel materials including hosts, dopants, and transport and injection materials to OLED manufacturers.
A notable introduction from Kodak's display business is the KODAK Vapor Injection Source Technology (VIST), which helps reduce OLEDs' manufacturing cost by increasing OLED materials utilization, organic deposition rates, and equipment uptime. With regards to the device architecture itself, Kodak has developed the White OLED red, green, blue, white (RGBW) (W-RGBW) architecture, which improves scalability of OLED to large glass sizes, improves lifetime, and overcomes the problem of color shifting during the useful life.
"The company is now extending the use of this technology to the lighting sector, leveraging its expertise in OLED materials, device architectures, and other Kodak proprietary technologies that are critical to the success of OLED lighting," explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sharmishta Subramanian. "Striving continuously to improve the efficacy of its white lighting architectures, Kodak has made recent advances in fabricating several OLED devices with efficacies of over 60 lumens per watt, demonstrating a 10 percent improvement in efficacy within six months."
Kodak's commitment to quality is evident in its adherence to the Department of Energy's Energy Star specifications, a prerequisite for any manufacturer to sell in the U.S. lighting market with Energy Star Certification. The company has also acknowledged the importance of material lifetime by focusing on all-fluorescent and hybrid emitter systems due to their expected higher lifetime compared to all-phosphorescent emitter systems.
Apart from improving the stability of OLEDs, Kodak is actively developing technologies to address OLED manufacturing hurdles such as yield, cost, and optical out-coupling. Kodak deals with these issues at the development stage, with its internal light extraction structure more than doubling the efficacy of white OLEDs.
Another major challenge in OLED manufacturing has been low cost fabrication of lighting panels, without shorting defects that create dark spots in the light output.
"Kodak offset this issue by using a novel, monolithic-integrated serial connection panel architecture that allows economical fabrication of large area lighting panels with reduced voltage drop," notes Subramanian. "This structure is fault tolerant and hence, reduces the impact of shorting defects by orders of magnitude, improving the manufacturing yield of OLED lighting panels."
Kodak's products are proving valuable at a time when the global energy crisis has created an urgent need to move to sustainable technologies. Improved lighting technologies are one of the solutions to reduce energy depletion and OLED lighting provides several advantages over conventional light sources such as incandescent and fluorescent solutions.
Energy-efficient OLED lighting technologies reduce materials for recycling and eliminate heavy metals such as mercury. Kodak supports this agenda and is moving toward the deployment of its technology in OLED SSL products.
Kodak has more than 1,900 global patents and applications and over 15 OLED licensees all over the world.
"Kodak's mission is to advance the OLED lighting industry worldwide and has plans of collaborating with other companies and participating in joint industry projects," observes Subramanian. "Developing technology that caters to both the display and lighting segment has provided Kodak with diverse R&D efforts and investment opportunities."
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a technology that can benefit or revolutionize the industry. The Award recipient has developed systems and processes in OLED lighting that remove significant obstacles in the development of technology. These developments will allow for cost effective and energy efficient OLED lighting systems. The utilization of this enabling technology into future lighting systems may result in energy and cost savings.
Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.