Article last updated on: Dec 15, 2017

TADF, or Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence, is a relatively new class of OLED emitter materials that promise efficient and long-lifetime performance without any heavy metals. TADF research started in earnest in 2012, and TADF emitters are expected to become commercial by 2018.

Blue TADF emitter molecules

There are currently three main challenges with OLED emitters that TADF aims to solve - an efficient and long-lasting blue color emitter, low cost alternatives current red and green emitters and the development of soluble OLEDs that can be deposited using low cost ink-jet printing or other "wet" methods.

TADF is being developed by several companies. Japan-based Kyulux was established to commercialize Prof. Adachi's HyperFluoresence TADF technology. Germany-based Cynora is focusing on a blue TADF emitter. Both companies aim to release their first commercial materials in late 2017 or early 2018.

Idemitsu Kosan also considers TADF as one of the key OLED technologies and intends to focus on TADF in the future (although Idemitsu's actual TADF plans are not clear yet). UDC has been recently awarded a patent on TADF materials, although the company says that TADF is not in its focus.



The EU launched two TADF related collaborative research projects to focus on TADF emitters, Project HyperOLED and the 2015 project Phebe.

Latest TADF OLED news

The EU LEO project developed efficient and cost-effective OLED lighting technologies

Leo project logoIn 2015 the EU launched a 3-year €4 million OLED lighting project, the LEO project (Low-cost / energy Efficient OLEDs) that had an aim to develop efficient and cost-effective bendable OLED lighting technologies. The project consortium included Osram, and Cynora.

A month before the project officially ends, the partners updated on their progress. For this project, the partners develops several technologies, including low-cost metal foils integrating OLED anodes and possibly backside monitoring printed circuits, smart OLED top-electrode architectures and light out-coupling solutions and a novel thin film top-encapsulation strategies. These technologies together increased the light output by 50% while providing better surface scratch resistance.

Updates from the TADF symposium: Cynora's latest blue, SDC and LGD hopeful on TADF

A few days ago, Cynora hosted the 2017 International TADF Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany. Cynora reports that about 150 attendees from all over the world listened to experts from the industry and academia and were updated on the latest news regarding TADF OLED emitters.

TADF Symposium photo 2017

Cynora itself showed an update on its latest blue emitter. The company now has material that features a CIEy of 0.18 (target - 0.1), EQE of 14% (target 15%) and a lifetime of 10 hours LT97 at 700 nits (target is over 100 hours). Cynora says that development is progressing well and it is confident it will reach its target material performance by the end of the year.

Transparent OLEDs Market Report

Cynora announces its Series-B funding round, raises €25 million from Samsung and LG

Cynora announced that it finalized its Series-B funding round. Both Samsung (via Samsung Ventures) and LG Display participated in this round which totaled €25 million. Both LGD and samsung will also establish separate joint development efforts to assist in advancing Cynora's R&D.

Cynora did not disclose how much did each company invest, although earlier reports suggested that LG invested €15 million while Samsung invested €10 million.

Korea's Material Science joins the TADF emitter race

OLED chemical maker Material Science started to develop blue TADF emitters, hoping to be the first company to offer an efficient blue emitter.

Material Science OLED materials image

According to OLEDNet, Material Science has finished the development of a new fluorescent blue emitter and host system, which it now aims to offer to Samsung and LGD for commercial AMOLED production. Material Science currently offer ETL and HTL materials to OLED makers, with sales reaching $5.8 million in 2016. The company expects its sales to exceed $8.8 million in 2017.

Wisechip explains the development effort behind its HF-TADF PMOLED

Last month PMOLED maker WiseChip demonstrated a Hyperfluoresence TADF PMOLED display in a trade show in Japan, following a collaboration with HF TADF developer Kyulux. Wisechip says it will bring its first HF-TADF PMOLEDs to the market by the end of 2017.

Kyulux today uploaded Wisechip's presentation from the TADF workshop. In this lecture Wisechip’s VP of R&D Engineering Division, Dr. York Tsai, gave a presentation that detailed the Hyperfluorescence-PMOLED development effort and the performance boost enabled by the new material.

How will the phosphorescent emitter market look in 2018, following UDC's basic material patent expiration?

The phosphorescent OLED emitter market is currently dominated by Universal Display who owns the basic patents to phosphorescent OLED emitters. All the major OLED makers (including Samsung and LGD) are using UDC's materials in order to achieve higher display efficiencies, beyond what is available from fluorescent emitters.

Universal Display holds over 4,000 issued and pending patents, but some of its basic phosphorescent patents are set to expire by the end of 2017. Honestly, it is very difficult to know exactly what effect this will have on the market - some analysts believe that it will carry very little effect while others say that this will open the door for other companies to sell competing phosphorescent emitters.

Reports from Korea suggest LGD and SDC to invest 25 million Euro in Cynora

A report from the Korea Herald suggests that Samsung Display decided to invest €10 million in TADF developer Cynora, which follows LG Display's €15 million investment in the company. Both companies aim to secure access to next-generation emitter technology.

Cynora Blue TADF OLED material photo

The Korean report actually states €100 million from SDC and €150 million from LGD - but this is surely a mistake as it's highly unlikely that Cynora could be raising such a huge sum of money at this stage. An earlier report from ETNews claimed LGD's investment totaled $9 million.

Cynora edges closer to a 460nm deep-blue TADF emitter

In May 2017 Cynora announced a new blue TADF emitters that achieves a 15% EQE at 1000 nits with an emission peak of 470 nm and a LT97 of > 90 hours (at 700 nits) on a device level. Cynora has stated several times that it aims to commercialize its first highly efficient blue TADF emitter by the end of this year.

According to Cynora, the performance requested from customers is an EQE (at 1000) of over 15%, a lifetime (LT97 at 700 nits) of over 100 hours and a wavelength of 460 nm (color purity FWHM 60 nm).

Wisechip shows its latest PMOLEDs at the TADF Workshop in Japan

Wisechip, the Taiwan-based PMOLED maker, demonstrated its latest display panels and prototypes at the TADF Workshop last week in Fukuoka, Japan. This was an impressive display and a great chance to experience the latest PMOLEDs displays from Wisechip.

So first up we have the company's transparent PMOLED. This is a 4.1" (106x37.9 mm) segmented T-OLED specifically aimed for automotive HUD applications. The display has 4 colors (red, orange, green and blue) and offers a typical brightness of 800 nits (max is 1,500 nits). According to Wisechip the display will soon hit the market for a specific automotive partner.

Reports suggest LGD and SDC to participate in Cynora's latest financing round

ETNews reports that Cynora is finalizing its latest financing round, with aims to raise €15 million. LG Display will participate in the round, investing $9 million, and Samsung Display is also considering a similar sized investment.

Cynora Blue TADF OLED material photo

Cynora, based in Germany, is developing OLED emitters, and has recently announced its blue TADF OLED performance. Cynora's new blue achieves a 15% EQE at 1000 cd/m² with an emission peak at < 470 nm and a LT97 of > 90 hours (at 700 cd/m²) on a device level. Cynora says that it is very confident that it can commercialize its first highly efficient blue emitter by the end of this year, as planned.