EUROPEAN research organisations are partnering to develop an indium tin oxide replacement and a flexible barrier encapsulation film.
Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) applications are currently heavily dependent on the use of indium tin oxide (ITO) for transparent conducting films and encapsulation films with high performance barrier properties.
The European partnership "Flexibilis" aims to develop alternative flexible electronics technologies and materials which have equal performance but deliver low cost, sustainable, transparent and flexible products for these applications.
While this development work is not new, R&D bodies are finding it difficult to scale up the manufacturing of these alternative materials beyond the laboratory scale.
"Flexibilis" will address these issues by providing the expertise to both develop and test these advances in large area OLED and OPV devices at pilot production scale. The project is being coordinated by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), and partners include UK based Teer Coatings, the University of Bolton, and the Austrian research centres NanoTecCenter Weiz Forschungsgesellschaft mbH and High Tech Coatings.
Flexibilis began in March 2013 and has already demonstrated promising results in the replacement of ITO and the development of a high performing barrier aiming at OLED and OPV applications. The next challenges will be to refine and apply these results to demonstration devices, and test their suitability at pilot manufacturing scale.
Flexible electronics will increase the freedom for designers to embed technology and functionality in new applications, promising new innovative components that are wireless, smarter, interactive, conformable, thinner and more lightweight.