thin-film light sources


Thin-film light sources have been around for awhile, despite how futuristic they seem to be.  Their adoption has been relatively slow for two reasons:  First, they have fairly limited light ouput, which restricts them to mostly decorative applications.  Second, they are more difficult to implement in architectural designs, usually requiring a lot of custom design.  Not that that are difficult to use…they are just not as simple-minded and quick as copying yet another downlight symbol on a reflected ceiling plan.  Lifetime varies, depending on how bright they are driven, which is another consideration.

Yet still, the opportunity for creative new explorations of lighting is obvious, such as our previous post on a concept for light emitting wallpaper.

There are two primary manufacturers: CeeLite and E-Lite.


E-Lite makes electroluminescent sheet stock in continuous rolls up to 30″ wide.  They can do a variety of colors, albeit taking an efficiency hit through subtractive color filters.  E-Lite can produce decent white, as shown in the image below, where a series of antique photographs are illuminated by EL panels.


Yves Behar’s fuseproject made a striking art piece for a 2004 installation at the San Francisco MOMA using E-Lite (below).

fuseproject- InnerLight_1251918237653

fuseproject- InnerLight_1251918267289

An interesting side note:  E-Lite was founded by the engineers who originally developed Indiglo for Timex.

CeeLite makes light emitting capacitor panels.  They are only 1mm thick, flexible, and  can be manufactured in sheets up to 18 square feet (3′ x 6′ in the image at the start of the post).  CeeLite plugs its product as an evolution of electroluminescent technology, offering brighter and more natural white light.  CeeLite seems to have concentrated primarily on signage so far, but has dabbled in architectural pieces.

diffa_Interior Decho New York_ridimensionare

CeeLite panels were used as luminous place mats at the DIFFA event in NYC (ab0ve).

images from Continua Light, fuseproject and E-Lite

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