Organic luminescence is an interesting marriage of technology and natural materials. You can find a number of substances and compounds in nature which naturally glow with light, even in the dark. Science is trying to marry these natural compounds and processes with technology to create organic sources of light.
The basic design of these lights involves passing electricity through a layer of the organic compounds to make them glow. When the electricity is off, the glow is gone; when a small current begins to pass through the compound, the organic luminescence happens. Scientists are looking for ways to use this simple organic process in technology today. Many see it as a way to get light with very little carbon footprint.
Organic luminescence can bring many advantages to the marketplace. Today, most of this type of lighting is only used in small electronics. However, scientists are working to make this type of lighting work on a larger scale. Most of these lights are less than 2mm thick, and they emit little heat, which makes them ideal in a number of situations. When used in a graphic display, for example, the lights are bright and clear, even in the daytime.
The technology behind organic luminescence is expensive at this point. However, as with many other technologies, demand and advances in technology will bring the price down. Some interior designers are already starting to use them on concept displays. While they are not ready for prime time yet, these lights will be a real force in the light world of the future. Understanding how they work as well as their versatility is the first step in making their potential known.