Fraunhofer cooperation speeds roll-to-roll fabrication of OLEDs and solar cells

June 23, 2008
Two Fraunhofer institutes have joined forces in the development of a technology for an organic device roll-to-roll production process.
*** Originally published by Laser Focus World magazine. ***

The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS), a leading research institute in the field of organic-based materials and devices, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology (FEP), a leader in large-area vacuum deposition on flexible substrates, have joined forces in the development of a technology for an organic devices roll-to-roll production process.

Organic semiconductors are the technological basis for a multitude of innovative products, such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), solar cells, and many other applications. However, the establishment of a powerful European industry for these products can only succeed if industry and research institutions not only work on technology and design, but also manufacture on site. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft realized this and established the Center for Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD)--the leading center for research, development and pilot production of organic devices in Europe.

The cooperation of the two Fraunhofer institutes is a significant milestone for the COMEDD to extend its technology basis. The roll-to-roll equipment is located at the Fraunhofer FEP and used by both institutes.

This week saw the assembly of the new roll-to-roll coating plant for small molecules. The development of the plant is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Rollex project (roll-to-roll production of high efficiency light diodes on flexible substrates).

"This plant is among the first types worldwide to develop and produce OLED lighting modules and organic solar cells. This is an important step in the development of industrial-scale manufacturing processes. The strategic cooperation enables a perfect combination of the competencies in the field of coating and device technology," says Volker Kirchhoff, director of the Fraunhofer FEP. According to Karl Leo, director of the Fraunhofer IPMS, "The new coating plant will enhance Dresden's standing as a cluster location for organic semiconductors. In early 2009, we should see the first OLED demonstrators."