More than half of the light an OLED produces can become trapped within its glass substrate due to the different indexes of refraction in the OLED structure, the glass, and the air. A great deal of work in the OLED lighting industry is focused on finding ways to free this trapped light. While the goal is to find methods that add only minimal thickness to the panel, in the lab researchers often place a large glass hemisphere against an OLED panel as a simple way to extract the trapped light for testing.
Almost all of my other work at UDC revolved around celebrating unique characteristics of OLED lighting panels: thinness, lightness, flexibility, or transparency. This would be a chance to do something different, design a lamp using the light-extraction hemisphere as inspiration.
I quickly settled on creating a droplet shaped pendant lamp, with the form of upper housing describing the inverse curve of the dome, allowing the shapes to play off of each other when hung in clusters. I then moved on to designing the lighting panel. This would be the first round panel we produced at UDC. To create a panel that was simply an uninterrupted disc of light would require depending entirely on transparent conductor materials, which are not very efficient; therefore I needed to create some type of pattern using metal bus- lines. I also knew the dome would have a highly distorting effect on the panel. While developing patterns I ran rendering simulations to see what effect the distortion of the dome would have.
The final design of the panel was inspired by the Petal Table by Richard Schultz and by Indian mandala patterns. The rendering simulations proved to be accurate in predicting the distortion of the dome. However, I was not expecting the slightly prismatic effect it had, which cast a subtle rainbow onto surfaces illuminated by the lamp.
Housing and Dome Prototype
Integrated Sphere (Efficacy) Testing