Audi is introducing new Matrix OLED lights – the next stage in its innovative automotive lighting programme -- in a concept car in Frankfurt at the IAA. These lights lead to even more creative design opportunities because of their thin and flat configuration and significantly better homogeneity. This means that the lights are more adaptable compared to point light sources such as conventional LEDs.
Over the years, the automaker has systematically developed all aspects of OLED technology. The first projects related to the Matrix OLED lights have started.
OLED technology will soon be seen in production rear lights. Multiple thin layers of organic semiconductor materials are found in every Organic Light Emitting Diode or OLED unit, two electrodes – of which at least one has to be transparent. The layers are activated by a low DC voltage – between three and four volts. To get them lighted, the layers have to be activated.
Each layer has a thickness of less than one‑thousandth of a millimetre. The colour is based on the light source’s molecular component. OLEDs are flat light sources while LEDS (point light sources) are made of semiconductor crystals. The light achieves a new homogeneity level and its dimming is continuously variable.
No shadows are cast by the lights and they don’t need reflectors, light guides, or similar optical parts. As a result, the OLED units are both efficient and lightweight. And they hardly require any cooling. OLED technology is progressing quickly partly because of Audi’s influence.
When there are additional increases in light density, it won’t be long before OLEDs will have the capability of generating turn signal and brake lights. Plastic films will soon replace the thin glass sheets that are currently used to enclose the organic materials.
Because of the use of new flexible substrate materials, three‑dimensional forming can be possible. This gives designers new opportunities to be creative. The company has already demonstrated the potential of OLED technology in many of its models.
Among the incredible highlights of this technology are “OLED lighting” with transparent, multi-colored OLEDs in the car’s silhouette and “the swarm” that boasts a three-dimensional OLED display. Another advantage is that the OLEDs can be subdivided into small segments that may be controlled at various brightness levels.
The OLED units can be in different colours and may even be transparent. As a result, new lighting settings with very fast switchover times are possible. The boundaries of the illuminated sub-surfaces are highly precise. The headlights that use Audi Matrix LED and Matrix Laser technologies will soon feature the Audi Matrix OLED technology.