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Fibre OLEDs developed that are thinner than a human hair

A team of scientists led by Professor Kyung Cheol Choi at the School of Electrical Engineering has succeeded in fabricating highly efficient Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) on an ultra-thin fibre.

According to the team it expects the technology, which produces high-efficiency, long-lasting OLEDs, to be deployed in wearable displays.

At present existing fibre-based wearable displays’ OLEDs have a much weaker performance when compared to those fabricated on planar substrates, which has severely limited their application when it comes to wearable displays.

According to Prof Choi his team has designed a structure of OLEDs compatible to fibre and used a dip-coating method in a three-dimensional structure of fibres. By using this method, his team has successfully developed more efficient OLEDs that are equivalent to those found on planar substrates.

The team identified that solution process planar OLEDs can be applied to fibres without any reduction in performance through the technology. These fibre OLEDs exhibited luminance and current efficiency values of over 10,000 cd/m^2(candela/square meter) and 11 cd/A (candela/ampere).

The team were also able to verify that the fibre OLEDs were able to withstand tensile strains of up to 4.3% while retaining more than 90% of their current efficiency. Crucially, they could be woven into textiles and knitted clothes without causing any problems.

The technology allows for fabricating OLEDs on fibres with diameters ranging from 300㎛ down to 90㎛, thinner than a human hair, which attests to the scalability of the proposed fabrication scheme.

Noting that every process is carried out at a low temperature (~105℃), fibres vulnerable to high temperatures can also employ this fabrication scheme.

Professor Choi said, “Existing fiber-based wearable displays had limitations for applicability due to their low performance. However, this technology can fabricate OLEDs with high performance on fibres. This simple, low-cost process opens a way to commercialize fibre-based wearable displays.”

Neil Tyler

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