If you're the sort who wished your car had a transparent roof when the rain falls down but want some shielding when the sun's up (or, you know, vice versa) then BASF have good news for you. It's showing off the transparent OLED technology it developed with Philips that behaves like glass when inactive, turning opaque when activated. We're already familiar with the technology here, because it's the same kit that the chemicals giant showed off on its custom Smart Forvision it produced with Daimler back in September. As before, it's also been able to pair them up with transparent solar cells, for environmentally friendly sky watching: just remember that people will be able to see you pick your nose from all angles now, okay?
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BASF and Philips first to develop OLED lighting for use as a transparent car roof

OLED lighting concept for car roofs is a solar-powered light source, transparent when switched off

Ludwigshafen and Eindhoven, January 19, 2012 – BASF and Philips have achieved a practical breakthrough in the development of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology that allows it to be integrated in car roofs. The OLEDs are transparent when switched off, allowing for a clear view outside the vehicle, yet providing light only within the vehicle when switched on. This OLED lighting concept for car roofs is the result of a longstanding cooperation between BASF and Philips in the research and development of OLED modules.

In addition to offering completely new design possibilities, the transparent OLED lighting concept also allows new approaches to automotive engineering. The transparent OLED sandwich structure can be combined with equally transparent solar cells .

"This combination allows the driver to enjoy a unique open-space feeling while it generates electricity during the day and pleasantly suffuses the interior with the warm light of the transparent, highly efficient OLEDs at night," said Dr. Felix Görth, head of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes and Organic Photovoltaics at BASF Future Business GmbH.

Dr. Dietrich Bertram, General Manager of OLED Lighting at Philips, added:"This project provides impressive evidence of new possibilities with OLEDs, and illustrates the potential of Philips' Lumiblade OLED technology to help create innovative lighting applications that enhance people's lives."

BASF and Philips have cooperated closely since 2006 within the OLED 2015 initiative of Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).BASF develops organo-chemical materials such as dyes that are used in the development and manufacturing of OLEDs by Philips. Working together, the two partners put the innovative transparent OLED lighting technology into practice on a car roof.

OLED – a lighting revolution

OLED technology offers the advantage of high energy efficiency, in addition to creative flexibility and new options for designers. OLED light sources are just 1.8 millimeters thin and can be transparent. The entire surface of an OLED illuminates with diffused light, making it a very soft light source that produces less harsh shadows compared to point light sources.

BMBF's OLED 2015 initiative

The joint "TOPAS 2012" project was launched in January 2010, marking the second phase of the BMBF's OLED 2015 initiative. "TOPAS" refers to "thousand lumen organic phosphorescent devices for applications in lighting systems." In this project, the consortium partners (which include BASF and Philips) will focus on developing innovative materials and component architectures as well as new production machines for lighting solutions with highly efficient organic light-emitting diodes.