CSEM and Sefar have announced they have succeeded in designing a promising state-of-the-art, low-cost, efficient method of increasing the attractiveness of OLEDs for lighting. This technology opens up new opportunities for applications in residential, architectural, professional lighting segments, as well as consumer electronics.
Together, the partners have developed low-cost, flexible, transparent, highly conductive electrodes made of fabric substrates comprising flexible metallic wires and polymeric fibers woven together in a highly transparent and flexible polymer. These fabric substrates (SEFAR TCS Planar) are manufactured using low-cost, high-throughput processes under standard ambient clean room conditions.
The OLEDs are finalised by coating the substrate with a thin-film (tens of nanometers) layer of a solution-process conductive polymer. The high electrical conductivity of the metal wires in the fabric substrate ensures that the electrode displays high conductivity over large distances, even with an ultra-thin, and hence highly transparent, layer of the conductive polymer.
Figure: CSEM/Sefar - Fabric substrate SEFAR TCS Planar
The novel solution can be applied for OLEDs, as well as for many other products, including solar cells, EL devices, touch screens, electrochromic glasses, transparent heating elements, sensors, photo-detectors, and transparent shielding elements.
Thanks to a project supported by the Swiss Confederation (CTI project), CSEM and the company Sefar are now able to propose a promising solution featuring interesting production costs, high efficiency, and compatibility with the fabrication of large-area OLEDS.
Rolando Ferrini, Head of CSEM's, said, "The wet deposition of the different ultra-thin OLED layers with excellent thickness uniformity and minimum leakage current was the main challenge faced by CSEM."
Peter Chabrecek, R&D manager at Sefar, said, "The use of Sefar fabric-based electrodes significantly simplifies the production of large-area OLEDs by eliminating the evaporation, photolithography, and electrical insulation of the supporting metal tracks." Peter added, "With this achievement, our company aspires to reach 20 percent of the flexible transparent electrodes market by 2020 for all types of optoelectronic devices."