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New Light-Changing Polymer Replaces Custom-Color LEDs for Interior Backlighting

SpecialChem / Feb 11, 2008

The application voted the Most Innovative Use of Plastics in the Materials category at last November's SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala and the event's Grand Award Winner was a color-converting plastic for custom-color backlighting of vehicle interiors. At first, the beauty and innovation of this high-tech solution is easy to miss. After all, interior backlighting has been around for decades. Backlighting traditionally involved putting low-power incandescent bulbs behind backlit applications. Automakers in the U.S. and Japan historically chose colors that were easily created by subtractive filtering of incandescent lamps. The latter produce "unsaturated" hues whose emitted light is comprised of energy from multiple wavelengths, from which specific colors/wavelengths can be filtered. Vehicle manufacturers established interior brand identity around specific shades of unsaturated shades of red, orange, blue, and green. However, the failure rate of incandescent lamps is high vs. newer technologies and they generate a lot of heat during operation.

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