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NIR-OLEDs integrated into CMOS silicon chips

19 Mar 2012

Achievement "opens up completely new applications for the already commercially successful OLED-technology."

Together at last: integration of RGB + NIR-OLEDs in CMOS-silicon.

Together at last: integration of RGB + NIR-OLEDs in CMOS-silicon.

For the first time ever, the Center for Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems has successfully integrated Near Infrared OLEDs into CMOS-silicon chips. A key capability of this achievement is that they can be used as a light source in various fields of sensor technology, such as for medical light therapy or in a display. The technology will enable, for example, the development of NIR-OLED based light barriers or flow sensors.

”The successful development of organic light emitting diodes, which emit in near infrared spectral range, opens up completely new applications for the already commercially successful OLED-technology,” commented Uwe Vogel, Head of Business Unit Microdisplays & Sensors at COMEDD.

By combining NIR-OLEDs with conventional OLEDs, light systems with an accordingly extended spectral range can be produced for color sensors or spectrometers. NIR-displays could be applied, for example, in night vision devices fitted with supporting low-light amplifiers. The displayed information would remain invisible to anyone but the operator of the device.

Furthermore, COMEDD can produce bi-directional NIR-OLED displays that cannot only emit NIR-light, but also detect it. The integration of OLED displays in data eyeglasses has already been successfully demonstrated.

This week 21 - 22 March, COMEDD at Fraunhofer IPMS will be publicly demonstrating this successful integration of NIR-OLEDs in CMOS-silicon chips at Smart Systems Integrations 2012 exhibition and conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

Q & A

optics.org interviewed Dr. Uwe Vogel, Head of Business Unit Microdisplays & Sensors at the Center for Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD) / Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS).

optics.org: What is the market potential of devices that integrate of NIR-OLEDs into CMOS-silicon chips?

Uwe Vogel: “It is difficult to say precisely at this point. Major applications are expected in sensor applications for OLED-on-CMOS, however, that is a market yet to be established.”

What are the main likely application areas?

”Invisible surface illumination and detection, such as in pattern projection and embedded image acquisition. It could also be used in micro-circulatory blood flow imaging or photoplethysmography (medical imaging for volumetric measurement of an organ) in humans; excitation (e.g. fluorescence) and decay acquisition in biology and chemistry. Such devices could also find specialised applications in spectroscopy, flowmetry, as light barriers and in micro-displays with an invisible image display that could only be seen by special optical means.”

Almost blue: Integration of RGB + NIR-OLEDs in CMOS-silicon chips (pictured in the NIR range).

Almost blue: Integration of RGB + NIR-OLEDs in CMOS-silicon chips (pictured in the NIR range).

With which technologies already on the market is your new development in competition?

”Hybrid LED illumination; OLED-on-CMOS is monolithic.”

Are there any customers or integrators of this novel technology?

”So far we have had some customers for OLED-on-CMOS in the visible spectrum but only basic interest for the OLED-on-CMOS in the near infrared wavelength range.”

What were the origins, motivation and objectives for this research project?

”We wanted to develop a NIR OLED source particularly for OLED-on-CMOS integration applications mentioned earlier but also for other applications such as excitation in photo-dynamic therapies.”

Fraunhofer IPMS, Dresden

The Fraunhofer IPMS, Dresden, carries out customer specific developments in the fields of microelectronics and micro systems technology – serving as a business partner that supports the transition of innovative ideas into new products. Fraunhofer IPMS also develops and fabricates modern MEMS and OLED devices in its own clean room facilities. In addition to R&D services it offers ramp-up within a pilot production.

With modern equipment and about 200 scientists and engineers, the range of projects and expertise covers sensor and actuator systems, microscanner, spatial light modulators, wireless microsystems as well as organic materials and systems.

About COMEDD

In recent years, Dresden has evolved into a research center for organic materials and systems. In order to transfer the results to production further improvements in the production process and the establishment as well as the testing of first pilot-production lines are necessary.

The Center of Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD) – meanwhile an independent branch of the Fraunhofer IPMS – combines research and development works for the production, integration and technology of organic devices.

The focus of COMEDD lies in customer and application orientated research, development and pilot fabrication of novel module concepts and fabrication methods for these organic materials. COMEDD is a European-wide leading production-related research and development center for organic semiconductors focusing on organic light-emitting diodes and vacuum technology. COMEDD offers a wide range of research, development and pilot production possibilities, especially for OLED lighting, organic solar cells and OLED microdisplays.

The COMEDD clean room consists of the following equipment:

- A pilot line for the fabrication of OLEDs on 370 x 470 mm² substrates

- Two pilot lines for 200 mm wafer for the OLED integration on CMOS substrates as well as

- A research line for the roll-to-roll fabrication on flexible substrates.

About the Author

Matthew peach is a contributing editor to optics.org

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