New OLED Manufacturing Process to Bring Flexible Screens at Lower Cost

Submitted by lalit on November 1, 2011 - 9:13pm.

Engineering Professor Zheng-Hong Lu and his research team at the University of Toronto have developed a new OLED manufacturing method using plastic in place of glass that is more efficient and results in cheaper, flexible screens. Usually, OLEDs are made on heavy-metal doped glass in order to achieve high contrast and brightness, but because of heavy metal glass manufacturing becomes expensive and the screens aren’t flexible.

However, if plastic is used to make flexible display in place of glass the resulting OLED is not able to match high refractive index of heavy metal glass. As a result of which the brightness and contrast ratio are affected negatively.

Professor Lu’s team have found a solution for this problem, by using a 50-100 nanometer thick layer of tantalum (V) oxide (Ta2O5), an advanced optical thin-film coating material on plastic the same high refractive index of glass can be achieved while keeping the cost down. The team claims that by applying this advanced coating technique on a flexible plastic they were able to build the highest efficiency OLED device ever reposted with a glass free design.

"For years, the biggest excitement behind OLED technologies has been the potential to effectively produce them on flexible plastic," says materials science and engineering professor Zheng-Hong Lu. "This discovery, unlocks the full potential of OLEDs, leading the way to energy-efficient, flexible and impact-resistant displays."

No word yet on when we will see flexible OLED displays based on this technology in the market, as the manufacturing process is still in research stage. [Via TG Daily]