From Deposition to Encapsulation: Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Organic Light Emitting Devices for Lighting

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Lead Performer: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
Partners:

  • Universal Display Corporation – Ewing, NJ

DOE Total Funding: $1,201,526
Project Term: April 17, 2019 – April 16, 2021
Funding Type: SSL R&D Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (DE-FOA-0001823)

Project Objective

This project seeks to integrate batch vacuum processes and continuous roll-to-roll (R2R) fabrication and encapsulation processes for OLEDs into a single processing line. The acceptance of OLEDs for lighting applications depends on meeting three key challenges. The first is achieving high efficiency. In principle, this has been accomplished using electrophosphorescence that is capable of producing 100% internal quantum efficiency across the visible spectrum. However, there still remains the significant challenge of getting all the light out of the OLED and substrate and of achieving acceptably long operational lifetimes – typically, 50,000 hours is required for lighting purposes. Here, blue phosphorescence is the shortest-lived of the chromophores used in lighting, although progress is now being made to overcome this problem. And finally, high-throughput and high-yield production of OLEDs is needed to drive the extremely low-cost demands for practical lighting solutions. The promise of OLEDs is that they can be deposited on continuous rolls of flexible substrate material at very high rates of production and exceptionally low cost. This manufacturing route to ultralow-cost lighting has long been a dream but has yet to be realized in any significant manner. The project will use a unique tool currently operational at the University of Michigan to demonstrate R2R manufacture of high-yield, lightweight and flexible, very efficient, and bright white phosphorescent OLED (WOLED) manufacturing on a continuous web, from organic active layer and electrode deposition, all the way to encapsulation into a flexible and lightweight package. Ultimately, the team will demonstrate reliable, encapsulated 25 cm2 flexible white panels with 50 lm/W efficacy and CRI >85 on barrier-coated plastic films or other flexible foils, projected to meet DOE’s depreciated-equipment cost target of <$17/klm by 2025. Both vacuum thermal evaporation (VTE) and organic vapor phase deposition (OVPD), along with R2R encapsulation, will be integrated into a single system.

Project Impact

Ultimately, the team will demonstrate reliable, encapsulated 25 cm2 flexible white panels with 50 lm/W efficacy and CRI >85 on barrier-coated plastic films or other flexible foils, projected to meet DOE’s depreciated-equipment cost target of <$17/klm by 2025. Both vacuum thermal evaporation (VTE) and organic vapor phase deposition (OVPD), along with R2R encapsulation, will be integrated into a single system.

Contacts

DOE Technology Manager: Brian Walker, brian.walker@ee.doe.gov   
Lead Performer: Steve Forrest, University of Michigan