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LighTimes: Recently Launched EU Project Aims to Commercialize Flexible OLEDs

15 May 2013

May 14, 2013…Neuchatel – CSEM has joined a recently launched €11.2 million European initiative to help bring flexible OLEDs to market. The project, known as Flex-o-Fab, will create a pilot-scale manufacturing line for flexible OLEDs and use it to develop reliable production processes. The project is funded through the EU’s 7th Framework Program.

The first OLED products using rigid glass tiles are already on the market. However, OLEDs have also been produced and demonstrated (at least in the lab) on plastic films to create flexible light sources. It is expected that eventually, Flexible OLEDs could be produced at lower cost than glass-based OLEDs. Flexible OLEDs could be embedded into most kinds of everyday objects.

While flexible OLEDs have been successfully demonstrated in the laboratory scale by many groups (including CSEM), the Flex-o-Fab project aims to take them from lab to fab through the development of reliable processes for manufacturing OLEDs on plastic foils. The project will reportedly set up a modular, integrated pilot production line and associated manufacturing chain to achieve this. The Flex-o-Fab project will migrate existing sheet-to-sheet processes to roll-to-roll (R2R) production for a further reduction of costs and to enable high-volume production. The project will focus on lighting applications. The project participants hope to have a proof-of-concept pilot line operational by September 2015.

In collaboration with a range of partners, CSEM will contribute to develop new bonding-debonding solutions to facilitate reliable manufacturing of flexible OLEDs based on “foil on carrier” concept. The solutions developed will be compatible with the complete OLED processing flow. This will eventually provide the consortium with a reliable and roll-to-roll compatible handling method for OLED processing on polymer foils.