Leading Edge / Spring 2015
Bright Idea

A U of T grad’s paper-thin lamp technology could revolutionize the lighting industry


The paper-thin aerelight draws just seven watts of power. Photo courtesy of OTI Lumionics

The paper-thin aerelight draws just seven watts of power. Photo courtesy of OTI Lumionics

Three years ago, a lab breakthrough at U of T in OLED technology promised to create thinner, more flexible and energy-efficient computer displays. Now, the same team has successfully generated its first consumer product: the world’s only OLED (organic light-emitting diode) lamp. The aerelight, left, uses just seven watts at its maximum brightness – or about one-eighth the power of a typical lamp. Its “bulb” is actually a panel less than two millimetres thick that casts a soft, diffuse glow. Michael G. Helander (BASc 2007, PhD 2012), who co-founded OTI Lumionics, the company that makes the aerelight, says the sleek-looking device has touch controls built into its anodized aluminum frame and is the first of several consumer products the company has planned that will marry OLED technology with contemporary design.

Looking to the future, Helander sees the aerelight as the beginning of a much larger operation that will find new uses for OLEDs and change how they’re manufactured. The company is scouting locations in Ontario and Quebec for an advanced production plant that will bring together talent in engineering, technology and design. Roll-up computer screens and light-emitting wallpaper may not be far off.

Learn more about OTI Lumionics and the aerelight

 


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