A consortium of academic and industry partners is developing the skills and tools needed for the development of the next generation of OLED lighting and displays using alternative organic fluorescent compounds. Promising early results have been reported by several EXCILIGHT recruits.
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New forms of efficient and adaptable lighting, such as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), are revolutionising a vital market sector which is predicted to reach around US $1.7 billion (€1.56 billion) by 2020. Common applications include digital displays, televisions, computers and hand-held devices.
But there is a problem. High demand for OLED solid-state lighting means equally high demand for iridium (Ir), a rare and expensive type of platinum. The EU-funded EXCILIGHT project, an innovative training network, is exploring how to develop efficient alternatives to iridium in OLEDs using ‘exciplex emitters’ in a process called thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF).
According to the team, led by Poland’s Politechnika Slaska, this new approach will pave the way for simpler OLED designs, and help to reduce costs and boost production of new devices.
The main goal of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project is to train the next generation of bright young scientists in this multidisciplinary research field. Through mentoring, courses and secondments between academic and industrial partners, a careful balance between research and transferable skills is being managed within the project.
And it seems to be working. Researchers in the team have already demonstrated an efficient method for preparing white organic light-emitting diodes (WOLED) by embeding an ultra-thin layer of a new fluorescent compound in the exciplex region. These findings are available at Open Access, and a crash course in OLEDs covering some basic devices, more advanced structures, and the latest exciplexes and TADF approaches can be found on the EXCILIGHT website.