Plextronics partners with Holst Centre on roll-to-roll OLED processing

Designed to take the next step toward production of flexible OLED lighting and signage using roll-to-roll processing, Plextronics has formed a partnership with the Holst Centre.

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Plextronics, a Pittsburgh, PA-based specialist in printed electronics, has partnered with Eindhoven, the Netherlands-based Holst Centre, an open initiative by imec and TNO, to share research toward scalable OLED lighting and signage.

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Demonstration of flexible OLED lighting
The goal is to improve the scalability of flexible OLED laboratory devices. For low-cost processing on flexible substrates, OLED materials need to be compatible with solutions-based roll-to-roll processing. For OLED devices, this includes both hole-injection and hole-transport layers that are deposited between conductive and protective layers in the device.

Plextronics specializes in the development and manufacturing of solution-based hole-injection and hole-transport layers. It will make its Plexcore hole-injection and hole-transport inks available within the Holst Centre program and in return can benefit from the research results to further optimize the ink formulations. The Holst Centre plans to use the Plexcore inks in its shared research program on Flexible OLED Lighting and Signage to create functional OLED demonstrators, which will be characterized and evaluated as they would be in a production environment.

Ton van Mol, program manager of Flexible OLED Lighting and Signage at Holst Centre said, "Having Plextronics on board is a major asset to our research program. The company's unique knowledge perfectly complements the existing expertise in the program. It adds strength to the shared effort aimed at making flexible, affordable, and durable OLED lighting commercial products for future lighting solutions."

Other partners in the Flexible OLED Lighting and Signage program include DuPont Teijin Films, which manufactures plastic substrates, and Solvay Chemical Group, which designed the device stack in a 69 cm2 OLED lighting tile laboratory demonstrator fabricated earlier this year that featured a luminous efficacy of 30 lm/W.

The group will continue to pursue both device designs and manufacturing techniques that will enable low-cost OLED production. Other project goals include:

  • Processing on metal and plastic foils
  • Innovative device designs to minimize the number of process steps for OLED foils
  • Low-cost alternatives to indium-tin oxide (ITO) for transparent electrodes
  • Top and bottom emission configurations
  • Optimized light outcoupling

The program is designed to brings together partners throughout the value chain -- from thin-film and polymer suppliers to lighting and design companies.

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