Flexible OLEDs Glowing from First European Open Access Pilot Line

Flexible OLED on plastic web (Source: Fraunhofer FEP)

Flexible OLED on plastic web (Source: Fraunhofer FEP)

In 2016, the Pi-Scale project started with the ambition to create a world-leading open access pilot line, based in Europe, for companies interested in the manufacture and system-level integration of flexible OLEDs into products. This will be achieved by bringing together the very best of the existing European infrastructure and know-how on flexible OLEDs from different locations into one pilot line. The pilot line service will enable companies of all sizes to quickly and cost effectively test and scale up their flexible OLED lighting or signage concepts and bring them to a level where they are ready to be transferred to a mass production facility.

As one of the core team partners within the European pilot line project Pi-Scale, Fraunhofer FEP presents first demonstrators of flexible OLED out from this project. FEP is responsible for the roll-to-roll (R2R) anode deposition on barrier web, which is produced by the project partner Holst Centre as well as for the OLED-deposition by using evaporation processes. The OLED-deposition at FEP can be done in R2R and sheet-to-sheet (S2S) processes. In R2R, it is possible to produce endless long stripes with up to 30 lm/W and in S2S high quality OLEDs with a high performance can be produced. As substrates, the pilot line mainly uses plastic web and ultra-thin-glass.

Detail of the roll-to-roll vacuum coater at Fraunhofer FEP (Source: Fraunhofer FEP)

Detail of the roll-to-roll vacuum coater at Fraunhofer FEP (Source: Fh. FEP)

Project leader Claudia Keibler from Fraunhofer FEP is pleased: “We could demonstrate that the S2S and R2R process flows of the pilot line are working by producing up to 15 m long OLED-stripes with an efficiency higher than 30 lm/W and with nearly 100 % yield.” In total, around 50 m of OLED were deposited in the R2R process within the Pi-Scale project. They have an average efficiency of 30 lm/W. To show the reliability and reproducibility of the pilot line it is planned to produce 15 m long OLEDs in R2R monthly and to evaluate them. In S2S, a monthly monitor batch of four 6-inch plates will be done, to demonstrate the operational capability of the pilot line production processes.

In order to achieve this and to proof the functionality of the pilot line service, partners all along the whole value chain are represented in Pi-Scale – from material supplier up to the end user. Together with the other technology partners of the pilot line customer specific OLED solutions are offered considering also the price-performance ratio. From July 2017, the pilot line service will be ready to supply customers with unique customized flexible OLEDs on thin-glass as well as on plastic foil, which can be produced in R2R and S2S.

This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 688093. (Source: Fh. FEP)

Links: PI-SCALE, Horizon 2020 / Photonics Public-Private Partnership project • Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, Dresden, Germany • Holst Centre, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Further reading: From Lab into Market, photonicsviews.com, 18th February 2016 

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