Working within the framework of Lyteus, Holst Centre and Fraunhofer FEP step into the spotlight with the creation of the world’s longest single-device OLED. At a stunning 15 meters in length, it opens the door to ‘endless OLEDs’ that manufacturers and designers can then easily tailor to their own needs.
Lyteus brings together leaders in OLED technology from across Europe to create a pilot production line and product development services for OLED products. Working together, Holst Centre and Fraunhofer FEP successfully demonstrated the possibility for continuous production of OLEDs of any length. This both reduces the cost of production and enables “cut-to-fit” lighting for applications such as transportation, architecture and interior design.
“This is a major milestone in the development of pilot line R2R technologies that will enable Lyteus to offer long OLED strips to its customers. It is an example of how the Lyteus pilot line turns flexible OLED possibilities into products. It was only possible due to the unique capabilities of Holst Centre and Fraunhofer FEP and the great cooperation between them and other Lyteus partners” says Pavel Kudlacek, Leader of Technology Development at Lyteus.
It is the first OLED source produced using a unique roll-to-roll (R2R) process that combines the performance of an evaporated OLED stack with solution processing of auxiliary layers. Moreover, the combination improves the process reliability and enables fabrication of devices of any length.
To produce the device, Fraunhofer FEP deposited an indium-tin oxide (ITO) anode onto a protective multi-layer barrier foil produced by Holst Centre. The roll was processed at Holst Centre, where slot-die coating was used to structure the anode and deposit the first layer of the OLED stack. Fraunhofer FEP then evaporated the rest of the OLED layers and finalized the devices by lamination of Holst Centre barrier. The resulting devices have good homogeneity and efficacy of 15 lumen/W at a light output of 1000 cd/m2.
“Roll-to-roll production promises higher volumes and lower costs for flexible electronics applications like OLEDs. At Holst Centre, we have been developing a unique, solution coating roll-to-roll line for 10 years. The 15-meter OLED shows that the technology is now ready for industrialization, and can deliver cost-effective, high-volume OLED production,” says Pim Groen, Program Manager at Holst Centre (TNO).
“The 15-meter OLED is further evidence of our ability to deposit high-quality organic layers and integrate them with solution-processed layers to create reliable and homogeneous devices in a continuous process. It is a step towards the creation of ‘endless’ OLED devices and a further step in our R2R OLED manufacturing processes, which we are developing now for more than 10 years,” says Jacqueline Hauptmann, Project Manager OLED R2R, Fraunhofer FEP.