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€6 million 'R2D2' project to improve OLED manufacture

05 Nov 2014

Consortium developing flexible OLEDs involves Osram, Audi, Diehl Aerospace, Hella and Novaled.

Germany's Ferderal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is investing €5.9 million into a joint project to investigate production-related processes and technologies for the manufacturing of flexible organic light-emitting diodes. The project, known as R2D2 and which starts in November 2014, also involves industrial partners from the automotive and LED manufacturing sectors.

The BMBF says that the innovative world of light and design possibilities have influenced efforts to develop OLED lighting technologies worldwide. The progresses of the past five years have proven the technical feasibility of this vision in the form of first flexible prototypes. Moreover, leading lighting manufacturers have established pilot fabrication capacities for lighting-OLED on rigid glass substrates, notably Osram OLED, an R2D2 consortium partner.

At the launch of the project, the BMBF commented, "Significant penetration of the general lighting market can only be achieved if the hitherto high production costs for OLED lamps can be reduced and if new fields of application and design can be opened up, which could not so far been served."

Consortium leader Dr. Christian May from Fraunhofer FEP said, “Project R2D2 will investigate production-related processes and technologies for the manufacturing of flexible and shapeable OLED. Both batch manufacturing and roll-to-roll technology approaches will be pursued. The advantages and disadvantages of these manufacturing concepts as well as possible synergies shall be identified. Current challenges of the OLED, like durability, efficiency and homogeneity of the luminance will be addressed at the same time.”

Integration

The system integration of the manufactured flexible OLED modules for the use in automobiles, aircrafts and household applications is one of the main subjects of investigation within R2D2. According to the demands of these application fields durable, highly efficient materials, assembly and connecting technologies adapted for each application as well as system integration technologies will be researched and investigated.

Notable participants in the consortium include Novaled, an authority on the development of OLED materials and technologies and coating specialist company Von Ardenne, a market leader in equipment for roll-to-roll coating of flexible substrates. The firms are expected to play key roles in application and product studies including detailed analysis of the manufacturing techniques and costs.

The BMBF is providing a subsidy of €5.9 million over the coming two years for the 

R2D2 project. The consortium covers the whole value chain between materials research, plant construction, component technology and application studies for future products. Planned R2D2 activities are based on the already well-recognized results of other BMBF-funded projects R2Flex, So-Light and TOPAS2012 for the organic electronics sector, notably for organic light-emitting diodes and organic photovoltaics.

Dr May added, "The involvement of major lighting manufacturer Osram OLED and end-users of the light sources AUDI, Hella, Hueck and Diehl Stiftung is expected to enable comprehensive adaptation of project results towards new possibilities for the OLED marketplace. R2D2 should help the OLED to raise its profile with the general public for its use in lighting and lead to a technological and an economical advantages for German companies."

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

EKSMA OPTICSMOELLER-WEDEL OPTICAL GmbHAltechnaSPECTROGON ABAlluxaPhoton Engineering, LLCNanoscribe GmbH
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