The future of LED lighting panels could see flexible light sheeting become commonplace thanks to a new breakthrough by researchers. The production process, reported by Plastics News, is described as like the roll-to-roll technique used in newspaper printing.

The technology, which has been the result of three years of research at the Swiss federal laboratories for material science and technology, is now described as ‘ready to market’ as its already under commercial production.
The research had the aim of looking to reduce the production cost of LED lighting and solar cells – making using of a 16 million Euro fund and input from nine commercial companies and six research institutes. Seven patent applications have been made from the research group so far.

While being cheaper to produce, tests have proven them as effective as current LED lights. They’ve also been rigorously tested in the UK to check that they still operate after being repeatedly bent – handy for a super thin, flexible material like this.
However, the potential applications for the flexible LED panels have been less explored so far – with the focus on the cheaper production side, rather than the how the properties of the new material may be useful. The material is transparent and very thin, using woven metallic wires, making a key point of difference from the thicker flexible sheets currently widely available on the market.

The project has also been successful in reducing the cost to produce solar cells and transparent barrier cells – which stop water and air reaching sensitive light panels.