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News

Plastic substrate and ultra-high-barrier coating system for flexible organic displays

GE Advanced Materials : 07 February, 2006  (New Product)
GE Global Research is presenting details on its successful development of a substrate system for flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) at the Flexible Displays & Microelectronics Conference.
GE Global Research is presenting details on its successful development of a substrate system for flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) at the Flexible Displays & Microelectronics Conference, Feb. 6-9 in Phoenix, Ariz. The system features a developmental high-temperature Lexan polycarbonate (PC) film from GE Plastics combined with a transparent, ultra-high-barrier coating to help protect the OLED device against oxygen and moisture. This research, jointly funded by the U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) and GE, is designed to address the critical need for plastic substrates that can enable cost-effective, lightweight, flexible organic displays. Min Yan, GE materials scientist, will give a presentation on the new substrate system, which is currently being produced in batch mode and will ultimately be moved to a roll-to-roll process for cost efficiency. In addition, GE Plastics is featuring a variety of plastic films for electrical/electronic display applications during the exhibition.

GEs development of a flexible plastic replacement for the glass substrates used in OLEDs opens the door to exciting new applications such as portable, ruggedized, and eventually roll-up displays, said Hiro Ezawa, global industry manager, Displays, GE - Plastics. We are proud of the GE Global Research leadership role in the area of OLED devices and displays, which is based on the breadth and depth of our materials and systems innovation. For example, our extensive resources and expertise made it possible to engineer an integrated, flexible substrate and coating system combining our current experience in both films and coatings technologies.

Fabricating an OLED on a plastic substrate instead of glass offers a number of design and usage benefits. A plastic substrate is rugged, lighter in weight, easier to transport, and suitable for high-volume manufacturing that can lower systems costs. And this flexibility enables new display designs and configurations not currently envisioned in current rigid displays.

The GE system utilizes the high temperature resistance and high clarity of transparent Lexan film - properties that enable the 125-micron-thick substrate to withstand the heat involved in OLED fabrication and to allow optimal light transmission from the device. The unique graded organic/inorganic barrier coating, which is applied using plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition, meets the stringent requirements for fabricating OLEDs. The transparent coating prevents degradation of the device from oxygen, moisture, chemicals, and electrical conductivity while promoting light transmission.

In 2006, again with funding from USDC, GE will focus on optimizing roll-to-roll barrier coating processes and evaluate the economic feasibility of its coated plastic substrate system in a wide variety of display applications.
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