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Imagine illuminating your home or business with flat, inexpensive panels that are environmentally friendly, easy on your eyes, and energy-efficient because they create minimal heat.

Now imagine how those panels could be used if they were as flexible as paper or cloth; the technology could be bent into shapes, fit the interior or exterior curves of vehicles, even be incorporated into clothing.

In "Flexible (OLEDs) for solid-state lighting" a team of researchers at Pohang (Republic of Korea) University of Science and Technology reports on advances in three key areas—flexible electrodes, flexible encapsulation methods, and flexible substrates—that make commercial use of such technology more feasible and closer to implementation. The article appears in the current issue of the Journal of Photonics for Energy, published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

OLEDs show promise as a future light source because of their thinness, light weight, , and use of environmentally benign materials. Companies such as Philips and LG Chemical have begun producing flat OLED panels that produce non-glare, UV-free light but very little heat, with no need for lamp shades or diffusers.

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