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ROHM Introduces
Thin, Flexible Organic LED Device for Illumination

OLED is a surface light source, which differs from point light sources such as LEDs

ROHM Semiconductor USA LLC Press Release

FlashlightNews.org - 12/22/2009


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Organic LED (OLED) Light Panel

Organic LED (OLED) Light Panel

SAN DIEGO, Ca. - ROHM Co., Ltd. has recently announced the development of flexible OLED lighting for next-generation illumination.

The device is a bendable light source that is 8 times lighter and 6 times thinner than conventional OLED, enabling greater design flexibility and range of expression. Expected applications include high-end personal products as well as general/airplane/train lighting, and displays.

OLED technology has already been put into practical use in displays, but has shown remarkable progress in recent years in terms of improved brightness and longer lifespan. One key difference of OLED is that it is a surface light source, which differs from point light sources such as LEDs. Additional features include natural color emission close to sunlight and lack of target object discoloration due to no UV rays. Plus it does not attract insects, and efficiency is expected to surpass that of fluorescent lighting, making it ideal as a next-generation light source.

One obstacle, however, is that OLED elements rapidly deteriorate in the presence of oxygen and moisture, making it necessary to seal the elements using a gas barrier film. Conventional OLED devices use pieces of glass bonded together. ROHM's new OEL device utilizes a structure that sandwiches the OLED element between ultra-thin glass (thickness: 0.05mm) and a gas barrier layer (see Fig. 1), successfully securing the gas barrier properties while maintaining flexibility (bending radius: 25mm). In addition, an extremely lightweight plastic base (0.05g/cm2, provided by Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd.) is used that features excellent safety and shock resistance characteristics. The flexible substrate also facilitates manufacturing using the roll-to-roll process, enabling large-scale production to meet future needs.

Key Features

1. Extremely light: 0.05g/cm2 (1/8th that of conventional OLED products)

2. Ultra-thin: 0.3mm (1/6 the thickness of conventional OLED products)

3. Flexible: Bendable with a radius of 25mm

4. Excellent reliability due to sealed ultra-thin glass and a gas barrier layers

Terminology

OLED (Organic Light Emission Device):

OLED refers to the phenomenon in which an organic compound emits light as a result of turning on an electric current or a device that utilizes this process. An organic EL device is formed into a thin film sandwiched by electrodes on the surface of a glass substrate or the like. The OLED section itself is extremely thin (a few hundred nm), and functions as a surface light source, as opposed to point/linear light sources such as fluorescent lamps and LEDs.

Roll-to-Roll Process:

A process method in which a suitable organic substance is deposited (printed) in a specific pattern on a polymer substrate that is rolled out. Once this is completed the substrate is rolled back. This enables continuous flow without interruption between each manufacturing process and device, resulting in more efficient transportation while facilitating maintenance of process conditions. The ability to manufacture OLED devices in this way is expected to dramatically decrease manufacturing costs.

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