The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Program has engaged in ongoing discussions with the U.S. organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) lighting community regarding the need for an OLED collaborative research and development (R&D) framework to accelerate developments in OLED lighting technology and manufacturing.
DOE implemented the collaborative R&D testing opportunity to enable U.S.-based OLED component developers and manufacturers to incorporate various R&D-stage components into a high-quality baseline OLED device. The results of the testing will lead to the identification of high-performing components with the ability to advance OLED technology performance and efficiency while reducing cost.
To Use a Qualified OLED Test Facility
Eligible companies/organizations must (1) be incorporated in the United States and (2) have conducted the technology development effort in the United States. Interested OLED component developers and manufacturers must provide a brief description of the technology/component to be tested and the anticipated information that will be gained by testing on a high-quality OLED device. It is expected that the OLED component developer or manufacturer will have already conducted preliminary testing on the component prior to applying for DOE testing. DOE's testing is intended to move that knowledge beyond the potentially limited capabilities of the OLED component developer or manufacturer.
To Qualify as an OLED Test Facility
Eligible companies/organizations must be incorporated in the United States and all testing under this opportunity must be conducted in the United States. OLED test facilities that have the capability to incorporate OLED components into baseline structures or complete OLED panels are eligible to apply. Facilities capable of testing any of the approved structure components listed in the Sample Component List in the OLED Testing Call for Sources are eligible. A test facility does not have to be able to perform testing on all OLED components to qualify. DOE is seeking additional qualified OLED test facilities to participate.
Frequently Asked Questions
DOE implemented the collaborative R&D testing opportunity to enable U.S.-based OLED component developers and manufacturers to incorporate various R&D-stage components into a high-quality baseline OLED device. The streamlined application process enables participants to receive rapid results and quickly and cost-effectively refocus efforts while facilitating collaboration between OLED developers and manufacturers.
Following completion of OLED component testing, the OLED test facility completes a Technology Validation Status Report (TVSR). The report identifies the OLED component(s) tested and describes the test process, results, observations, and recommendations to continue technology development. It will also include the status of the technology relative to the standard baseline structure and document issues that required deviation from the baseline structure. The OLED test facility also provides test data and results to the OLED component developer or manufacturer. The report does not identify the OLED component developer or manufacturer.
As of August 2020, 16 rounds of testing have been completed involving 10 different organizations. The testing has covered an electron blocking layer; integrated plastic substrates; transparent conductive material as a replacement for indium tin oxide; host materials; hole and electron transport materials; phosphorescent hosts; blue, yellow, and red fluorescent emitters; integrated light extraction substrates with varying haze levels; a fluorine-doped tin oxide coating on soda lime glass; silver nanowire electrodes in combination with light extraction layers; a transparent conductive film for flexible, plastic-based integrated substrates; amber emissive material; amorphous, composite transport conductive electrodes (TCEs); and white OLEDs using mixed hosts.
The feedback has been positive, with OLED component developers and manufacturers praising the testing process and indicating they received valuable results to improve their OLED component. Participants have offered the following feedback:
“The OLED test facility is very easy to work with and the level of detail in their work and reporting is excellent. The relative simplicity of the application process and speed of the decision making is great, as is the timeline for carrying out the work.”
“Our team was delighted with the DOE testing process; it allowed us to obtain valuable results on the suitability of our products for use in OLED devices. The value in the testing process is that without it, it is not clear that we would be able to carry out this work quickly (if at all), which would delay our development process.”
“The ability to test with high-quality OLED devices means that we are confident that the results are valid.”
“This benchmark is very useful for us. The information gathered will help us in our next testing zeroing on our goal. Based on these results we have already synthesized improved materials with higher triplet energy and higher singlet energy to improve the performance of our next series of devices. We appreciate the DOE help tremendously. As a startup this kind of help is very impactful.”
“This program is very valuable to our efforts to improve the component we are developing. Without it we could not move forward.”
“With the OLED Test Facility program, [our organization] is able to evaluate early stage technologies that we would not necessarily have the time or priority to test otherwise.”
“By funding these OLED testing activities, DOE is enabling suppliers to work closely with the panel manufacturer, which allows them to receive valuable feedback and make faster progress in improving these important technologies.”
The OLED testing opportunity is not a closed process like a solicitation; it is an open process with no closing date. Eligible companies/organizations must (1) be incorporated in the United States and (2) have conducted the technology development effort in the United States. Interested OLED component developers and manufacturers can apply to have a product tested, or to become a test facility, at any time. Applications are evaluated as they are received.
Please submit your application and/or questions to OLED-Testing@netl.doe.gov.