Cost-effective System Solutions for Flexible Devices


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A significant growth is predicted for the market of flexible devices. The topic “Wearables”, namely intelligent, wearable systems with several useful and funny features is currently one of the major discussion topics. To enjoy more comfort, exceptional designs and higher functionality manufacturers and users ask for flexible electronic devices, like displays, lighting elements or circuit boards.

Although research and development groups have already made considerable progress in this field, not all challenges could be solved so far. Various topics are subject to further development, e.g. materials, processes, machines as well as system integration.

Fraunhofer FEP provides a roll-to-roll process line which enables the application of organic materials for OLED (organic light-emitting diodes), OPD (organic photodiodes) or OPV (organic photovoltaic) on flexible substrates in one complete technology. The process includes the structuring, automatic inspection of the initial substrates, the vapor deposition of the organics and, finally, the encapsulation of the coated films or glasses.

Organic electronics certainly require flexible electrical contacts. Therefore, Fraunhofer FEP implemented an additional printing process of metal contacts for the reliable contacting of, for example, large-area flexible OLED on metal, polymer and thin glass substrates. In cooperation with printing paste manufacturers and other suppliers, e.g. machine manufacturers, adhesive manufacturers, encapsulation film suppliers, the scientists are now able to develop optimized products for required process steps under production conditions.

Dr. Jacqueline Brückner, Project Manager Surface Analysis for the roll-to-roll organic technology, says: “Our customers have different requirements to design and mechanical stability of devices. With our know-how and our process equipment we provide an unique development platform for all these demands.”

For example, there are various solutions for the device contacting. Currently, several contacting solutions with flat ribbon cable, like ACF (Anisotropic Conductive Film)-Bonding, ACA (Anisotropically Conductive Adhesive)-Bonding or ACP (Anisotropic Conductive Paste)–Bonding are evaluated.

Examples of different contacting solutions, special contacting and encapsulation layouts for the roll-to-roll OLED processes will be presented at the booth at Plastic Electronics 2014.

Beside this exhibition, Dr. Olaf Hild of Fraunhofer FEP will give a talk with the topic “Organic Electronics and Organic Photodiodes“ at Tech Arena 1, ALPEXPO on October 7th, 12:40 pm.

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