The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has implemented an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) testing opportunity to accelerate developments in OLED lighting technology and manufacturing. The streamlined process enables component makers to incorporate various research and development (R&D)-stage components into a high-quality baseline OLED device. The rapid results of the testing let manufacturers and developers refocus their efforts more quickly than with the formal DOE solicitation process and will lead to the identification of high-performing components with the ability to advance OLED technology performance and efficiency while reducing cost. The collaborative nature of the process will also encourage partnerships and accelerate OLED advances.
To Use a Qualified OLED Test Facility
Interested U.S.-based component manufacturers and developers 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 technology developer 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 manufacturer or developer.
To Qualify as an OLED Test Facility
U.S.-based test facilities that have the capability to incorporate OLED components into baseline structures or complete OLED panels are eligible to apply. A test facility does not have to be able to perform testing on all OLED components to qualify. 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. DOE has qualified one test facility to date and seeks additional qualified test facilities to participate.
Frequently Asked Questions
DOE implemented the testing opportunity to enable component makers to incorporate various R&D-stage components into a high-quality baseline OLED device. The idea is to provide a framework for testing that offers quicker turnaround than the formal DOE solicitation process. With a streamlined application process, participants receive rapid results that enable them to refocus their efforts in a quicker and more cost-effective way. The process also facilitates collaboration between component makers and panel manufacturers.
Following completion of component testing, the test facility completes a Technology Validation Status Report that summarizes the test results and provides recommended actions and improvements in the design, operation, or future testing of the OLED component. This report does not identify the manufacturer or product developer, and it is generally not made available to the public. The manufacturer or product developer will receive the report and test data generated by the test facility.
As of January 2020, 15 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; and amorphous, composite transport conductive electrodes (TCEs).
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with manufacturers and product developers praising the testing process and indicating they have received valuable results, which have helped them improve the component design. 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 testing opportunity is not a closed process like a solicitation; it is an open process, so there is no closing date. U.S.-based organizations can apply to have a product tested, or to become a test facility, at any time. Applications are continually being evaluated, so there is no deadline. Please submit your applications and/or questions to OLED-Testing@netl.doe.gov.