04 Oct 2013
'ENAB-SPOLED' effort aims to develop solution process approach to cut the cost of organic LED lighting.
Six European partners including two major lighting firms are working to develop lower-cost organic LED (OLED) technology under a new project with the curious name “ENAB-SPOLED”.
Co-ordinated by Samsung-owned OLED materials specialist Novaled and backed by a consortium of funding agencies from Germany, Austria and the UK, the project will see commercial and academic partners work to develop solution-processable OLEDs and a functional luminaire demonstrator based on the technology.
Set to run for two years, the €4 million project has been funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB), and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
As well as Novaled, the consortium includes Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Polymer (IAP) research and Tridonic Dresden, the UK’s Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) and University of Durham, and Austrian lighting giant Zumtobel.
The partners will work on new transport materials and emitters, new optical technologies for light guiding, and aim to develop solution-processing for both small molecule and polymer OLEDs.
Germany-based Novaled itself will work on solution-processable doped transport layers that it is hoped will yield carrier injection and transport characteristics that are on a par with the more conventional vapor-based manufacturing approach.
Meanwhile CDT will focus on refining lighting device structures and panels based on high-efficiency white materials. Fraunhofer IAP will concentrate developing charge transport polymers compatible with solution processing, while the University of Durham will provide spectroscopy expertise.
Lighting firm Tridonic will then work on OLED module integration, with reliable electrical contacting and improved optical outcoupling among its priorities, before Zumtobel sets about integrating the modules into a full luminaire featuring intelligent light control and occupancy sensing.
The attraction of solution processing is that it promises to reduce production costs dramatically, something that has thus far held the technology back from making any serious inroads into the lighting market.
Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth, head of the project consortium and chief scientific officer at Novaled, said: “For lighting, OLED can only be successful if constant cost decrease and performance improvement is pushed - and solution processed layers and polymer emitters will likely play an important role.”