Researchers working in the European ROLLED project have developed a flexible OLED element that can be mass produced using roll-to-roll printing technology. The OLED elements can be used to add value to product packages. The new method is considerably cheaper than the traditional manufacturing method. The project was coordinated by VTT,and project participants included INM, CSEM, Ciba, Hansaprint, UPM and PolylC.
The OLED element developed under the ROLLED project is made from organic materials and is encapsulated in a moisture barrier film. The element is 200-250 micrometers thick, the equivalent to three or four sheets of paper.
The current production cost of an OLED element is tens of cents. Researchers, however, are aiming for some end applications that cost as little as just a few cents. The acquisition cost of the equipment needed in the manufacturing process is clearly lower, and the speed of production is higher than in traditional production methods. The savings achieved can be up to half of the traditional production costs of OLED elements manufactured using a glass substrate.
The new OLED element was developed in the EU-funded ROLLED project, coordinated by VTT. Within this project VTT developed the printing process, CSEM developed different patterning technologies, and INM developed anode inks and barriers. VTT also developed a low work function cathode ink that enhances the functioning of the components by lowering the power supply voltage and reducing power consumption. It can be used in all printable electronics components, including transistors, solar cells and other electronics components.