imec launches flexible OLED display manufacturing research with Holst Centre

January 19, 2012 — European research centers imec and Holst Centre are pulling together their collective organic and oxide transistor and flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting research and contacts for a new project focused on next-generation flexible OLED displays. The goal is an economically scalable route to high-volume manufacturing of flexible active-matrix OLED displays.

Imec, Holst Centre, and associated partners will target high resolution, low power consumption, large area, outdoor readability, flexibility and light weight in the OLED displays. Individual challeneges that the research will address include:

  • a mechanically flexible encapsulation film and TFT backplane;
  • printed, high-efficiency OLEDs
  • new materials and processes for cheaper production, better quality, lower power, more robustness and more flexibility.

Designs of drivers, pixel circuits and TFT backplane matrix will be reconsidered as increasing display area influences the amount of pixels-per-inch or the refresh rates. Finally the program scope includes the development of new manufacturing equipment such as fine patterning equipment for backplanes and tools for integrated roll-to-roll manufacturing.

Image. Flexible OLED display developed in close collaboration with Polymer Vision, one of the industrial partners in the shared programs at Holst Centre and imec.

State-of-the-art OLED displays offer stronger contrast than LCD screens because OLEDs only emit once activated. OLEDs boast fast response times, low power consumption, better viewing angle, and simpler designs with fewer components than LCD displays. "Flexible displays represent an enormous economic and technical opportunity for flat panel manufacturers and its supply chain," said Gerwin Gelinck (Holst Centre), Program Manager of the OLED Display Program.

Also read: Long-term market outlook may shine for OLED displays

Paul Heremans (imec), Program Manager of the OLED Display Program: “With this program in mind, we already have been working more and more towards integrating separate building blocks and have realized OLED displays using both organic and metal oxide TFT backplanes. Thin, plastic substrates were used, and the displays were fully encapsulated using our state-of-the-art barrier technology. Part of this was done with other research institutes in a European project called FLAME, but we could really pull this off because of intense collaboration with some of our industrial partners. We will demonstrate some of these display prototypes in 2012.”

Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.

Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Sensor Technologies and for Flexible Electronics. Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. More information: www.holstcentre.com.

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