Case Studies

22nd April 2016

CPI collaborate towards the development of flexible barrier and the replacement of ITO for OLED and OPV applications

Flexible OLED light

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CPI has collaborated in a European research and development project titled ‘Flexibilis’ which addressed a number of problems which inhibit the uptake of OLED and OPV technologies. The project ran from March 2013 to February 2016.

Currently the commercialisation of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) based applications such as flexible displays, lighting and energy harvesting devices is heavily dependent on the use of indium tin oxide (ITO) for transparent conducting films, and encapsulation films with high performance barrier properties.

There is an industry need for the creation of alternative technologies and materials that have equal performance but deliver low cost, sustainable, transparent and flexible products for these applications. Throughout Europe and the world there are strenuous efforts to develop the technology beyond laboratory scale to the position where they are available in large area quantities at a price compatible with supporting market growth.

Project Achievements

The project investigated TCO (transparent conductive oxide) replacements for ITO and found a number of options with potential niche applications

The project demonstrated Aluminium zinc oxide based sandwich layers is one such option where less than 20ohm/square sheet resistance can be achieved and without the penalty of thicker, less transparent and flexible layers, and without the addition of more complicated metal grids

Transparent moisture barrier films were also developed on flexible polyester substrate using sputter-coating technology, with a barrier performance approaching the limit of the available measurement capability (5×10-4 g/m2/day measured at 38oC/90% relative humidity)

OPV and OLED demonstrator devices were manufactured at NTC-Weiz at lab-scale and later scaled up at CPI to 200mm substrates.

Phil Hollis,  Programme Manager, CPI

The Flexibilis project brought together research and industrial partners across Europe to develop the barrier technologies needed to aid the commercialisation of flexible electronics. We have been able to demonstrate some promising results in the replacement of ITO and the development of a high performing barrier for OLED and OPV applications. The next stage of development will be to refine and apply these results to demonstration devices, and test their suitability at pilot manufacturing scale.

Andreas Klug, Deputy Director R&D & Head of Quality Management at NanoTecCenter Weiz

Flexibilis was a great research project for us where we could significantly enhance our knowledge and understanding of the design rules and manufacturing processes relevant for the scale-up of organic large-area electronics. This provides a significant contribution to one of our main goals, namely the transformation of academic research into real applications.

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