Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019

Fraunhofer FEP announces OLED integration in textiles

The integration of luminous OLED elements in clothing means the wearer can be more easily noticed and considerably increase their visibility and thus their safety

7 Sep 2018 | Editor

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology (FEP) has announced they have developed OLED elements that can be integrated into textiles.These will be showcased at the forthcoming Electronics System Integration Technology Conference in Dresden.

OLEDs can be designed that emit colour light, designed in any shape, be transparent and even made dimmable. The can be applied on wafer-thin substrates - glass, plastics and steel foils, and now finding their way into textiles.

To simplify the integration of OLED elements in clothing and to give designers the opportunity to use the technology in an uncomplicated way, the Fraunhofer FEP scientists developed a functional button called the "O-Button". A wafer-thin foil-based OLED coupled with a microcontroller on a conventional circuit board.

This circuit board in the shape of a button is attached to the textile with conductive yarn and supplied or controlled with electrical power. The OLED itself can be dimmed as required.

Two-colour-variable variants of the button are also available. There are almost no limits to the structuring of OLEDs. The textiles finished in this way are supposed to give designers ideas for new innovative designs and thereby open up further areas of application.

Fraunhofer FEP is able to provide samples of the "O-Button" allowing designers to be creative, the Fraunhofer can convert individualised designs into initial prototypes and partner with the designers all the way up to pilot production. Fraunhofer scientists are already collaborating with designers in the fashion industry.

Challenges regarding further textile integration, "washability" or recycling are tackled and further developed together with partners. The first OLED fashion will be on display in stores in about three years.

"The integration of luminous elements in clothing not only freshens up fashion designs, it can also create very concrete benefits: Luminous logos or applications are more easily noticed and considerably increase the visibility and thus the safety of the wearer, e.g. in road traffic.” Their use would be conceivable, for example in workwear for night logistics."

Jan Hesse, OLED design and integration specialist in the field of flexible organic electronics at Fraunhofer FEP


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

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