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OTI Lumionics

OTI Lumionics

For the last 140 years, most of us benefit from light that emitted through a bulb. Whether incandescent, florescent or LED, bulbs have ruled the lighting aisle for a very long time. But like a burnt out lightbulb, things are about to change. OTI Lumionics is a leading developer of organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting, a thin, lightweight and flexible light source that illuminates an area with a soft, natural glow.

OLED technology was first developed at Eastman-Kodak in the late 1980’s, but it’s taken more than twenty years for the technology to mature. OLED is already being used commercially in smart-phones, smart-watches, and is just starting to emerge in TVs, making the timing right for commercializing in other applications, such as lighting.

OTI Lumionics was founded in 2011 by Michael Helender and an award winning team of researchers and engineers at the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. OTI has developed a manufacturing process that leverages tightly-integrated materials, process and equipment solutions that eliminate some of the key barriers to scaling.

Innovation and Philosophy

OLED is the first light source that uses carbon-based organic molecules, similar in structure to the organic dyes used in textiles or inks, to convert electricity into light. As a result OLEDs can be made by “printing” these organic molecules onto large area sheets of glass or flexible plastic. You can think of OLED as a light-based building material.

OLED panel
OLED Panel

The result is a light source that unlike any other in the world. Flat OLED sheets diffuse light in a uniform manner, minimizing shadows and glare. The product itself is highly energy efficient and can be recycled with ease. Additionally, it doesn’t heat up the way traditional light bulbs do, making it safe to touch at all times.

In August 2015, OTI introduced Aerelight A1, the world’s first consumer ready OLED lamp. This product is just the start of the lighting revolution.

Impact

The OLED technology has three main positive environmental impacts:

  • The organic materials used to make OLEDs are synthesized from carbon-based building blocks found in nature, making them environmentally sustainable.
  • The organic molecules are incredibly efficient at converting electricity into light, making OLEDs very energy efficient.
  • OLED “light sheets” eliminate the need for optics, reflectors and diffusers, all of which contribute to the loss of energy in traditional light sources.

RBCs investment will help OTI Lumionics expand their product development team and scale-up manufacturing in Canada.

 
 

Key Details

Investee: OTI Lumionics

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Date of initial RBC investment: June 2015