Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019

Fraunhofer FEP to showcase OLEDs fabricated on paper-thin stainless steel

Thanks to the smoothness and high thermal conductivity of the stainless steel foil the researchers were able to obtain extremely homogeneous OLED light

Fraunhofer FEP - OLED on paper-thin stainless steel substrate

21 Sep 2017 | Editor

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has announced they will be presenting OLEDs on gauzy stainless steel foil during aimcal 2017 in Tampa/USA, from October 15–18, 2017.

The novel application on display was developed in cooperation with the Nippon Steel and Sumikin Materials (NSMAT) and Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC).

According to the Fraunhofer announcement stainless steel is normally associated with kitchenware and chemical Plant pipe. However, stainless steel foil has also been utilised for several years in thin-film photovoltaics and batteries.

Now stainless steel can also serve as a substrate for flexible electronic components. In comparison to the conventional substrate materials like glass or plastic web the material possesses special properties for this purpose and is well-suited as a substrate for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

Thanks to the planarisation layer developed by NSSMC as well as the comparatively good thermal conductivity of stainless steel, homogeneous large-area lighting surfaces with current densities of more than 10 mA/cm2 have become better applicable.

Moreover, OLEDs need to be protected from water vapour and oxygen in order that the organic layers remain fully functional. Stainless steel provides excellent barrier properties against environmental influences and is therefore suitable as a substrate for OLEDs from this standpoint as well.

There is some ways to go before reaching that juncture. Following the expensive development of stainless steel foil, it still needs to be made suitable for production purposes. Fraunhofer FEP has at its disposal roll-to-roll processing lines for manufacturing OLEDs on flexible materials and an OLED process that has high reproducibility. This is what has made possible the development of stainless steel foil with a clean and smooth planarisation layer.

It was also important during the collaboration with NSMAT and NSSMC to work out quality standards for the future OLED fabrication. In particular, the surface properties of the substrate were specified and are being continuously improved in cooperation with NSMAT and NSSMC.

"Thanks to the smoothness and high thermal conductivity of the stainless steel foil we obtain extremely homogenous OLED light. We see OLEDs on stainless steel in perhaps three years from now being used in automobiles as turn indicator and back-up lights, as cladding for fascia, and as advertising displays."

Jun Nakatsuka, Manager of Business Development at NSMAT

"In addition to machinery design and construction, we also possess comprehensive know-how in handling sensitive substrates. To be certain the stainless steel is suitable for the nanometer-thick organic layers, an R2R-compatible smoothing planarization layer was developed that is easy to integrate into the process."

Michael Stanel, Project Manager within the R2R Organic Technology department at Fraunhofer FEP

www.fep.fraunhofer.de    www.nsmat.nssmc.com   

About Fraunhofer FEP

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP works on innovative solutions in the fields of vacuum coating, surface treatment as well as organic semiconductors. The core competences electron beam technology, sputtering and plasma-activated deposition, high-rate PECVD as well as technologies for the organic electronics and IC/system design provide a basis for these activities.

Thus, Fraunhofer FEP offers a wide range of possibilities for research, development and pilot production, especially for the processing, sterilization, structuring and refining of surfaces as well as OLED microdisplays, organic and inorganic sensors, optical filters and flexible OLED lighting.

Our aim is to seize the innovation potential of the electron beam, plasma technology and organic electronics for new production processes and devices and to make it available for our customers

Source: Fraunhofer FEP

About Nippon Steel and Sumikin Materials

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Materials Co., Ltd. manufactures materials and components for, the semiconductor and electronics materials, infrastructure materials, and environment and energy-related materials. The company offers stainless steel foil, gold bonding wire, and copper bonding wire for electronic and precision devices, reinforcement of circuit boards, honeycomb bodies. The company was formerly known as Nippon Steel Materials Co.,Ltd. and changed its name to Nippon Steel & Sumikin Materials Co., Ltd. in October 2012. The company was founded in 2006 and is based in Tokyo, Japan with locations in Malaysia, Philippines, China, Indonesia, India, Thailand, and the United States of America. Nippon Steel & Sumikin Materials Co., Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation.

Source: Nippon Steel and Sumikin Materials

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