Organic diodes could even become twice as efficient as normal bulbs in the future, say researchers
Researchers announced this week that they have managed to show white, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) can have the same, or greater, efficiency as fluorescent light bulbs.
OLEDs hold great promise for the production of highly efficient large-area light sources such as TVs.
The limited lifetime of the blue-emitting part of the device means they survive for just hours, but the research has discovered new blue-emitting materials can be found.
OLEDs had not, until now, passed the efficiency benchmark set by fluorescent bulbs.
Karl Leo of the Institute for Applied Photophysics in Dresden told the BBC his team has made the first devices to outperform fluorescent bulbs in the efficiency stakes by reducing light loss.
"The combined result is that we have achieved an efficiency which is for the first time higher than a fluorescent tube," he told the BBC.
And unlike previous white OLEDs, the efficiency does not decrease as the devices are turned up to produce a brighter light. And Leo said further improvements could make OLEDs twice as efficient as fluorescent light bulbs.
OLEDs can also be used in normal lighting.
"I'm pretty convinced that in a few years OLEDs will be a standard in buildings," Leo said.
The results of the research are published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
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