Sustainable, flexible and cost-effective organic electronics
NPL is involved in a new collaborative research project that will demonstrate the production of large area organic electronics for applications such as flexible solar cells and large area lighting. The TREASORES (Transparent Electrodes for Large Area, Large Scale Production of Organic Optoelectric Devices) project is led by EMPA, Switzerland, and features partners from across Europe.
Organic electronics utilise carbon-based semiconductors instead of inorganic materials such as silicon. This means they can be cheaper to manufacture, as well as lighter and more flexible, and it is predicted that the market for organic electronics will reach $300bn by 2030. However, despite the successful commercialisation of some products, there are still hurdles to overcome before organic electronic components can begin to replace the silicon found in the majority of devices today.
The TREASORES project will help by demonstrating a sustainable approach towards the low cost production of organic thin film optoelectronic devices, using high-throughput low-temperature (<180 °C) fabrication methods. It will develop transparent conducting barrier foils with an area over 1 m2, which will be used to produce flexible organic light-emitting devices (OLED), light-emitting electrochemical devices (LEC) and flexible organic photovoltaics (OPV).
Production will be based on roll-to-roll wet deposition processes, which deposit electronic components onto a sheet of flexible substrate, similar to how newspapers are printed today. This allows for many devices to be fabricated at a much lower cost than traditional methods. A key project objective is to scale up the production to over one metre per minute, without degradation of performance or yield.
The project will also look at scaling up novel flexible, transparent and conductive substrates to replace indium tin oxide, which is currently widely used in LCD screens and touchscreen phones but very expensive, due to high production costs and limited supplies of indium. Testing, reliability validation and disposal of organic electronics, once they have reached the end of their lifespan, will also form a major part of the project.
NPL's role will be to monitor, assess and coordinate testing and validation procedures throughout the workpackages. NPL will also develop new measurement methods and apply advanced characterisation procedures to underpin delivery of the project.
NPL works in the area of organic electronics to solve measurement challenges that will help improve product development, durability and quality. This will increase confidence in the area, accelerate market entry and increase competitiveness with respect to other technologies.
More on NPL's work on Organic Electronics
The TREASORES project is funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Program (FP7) (Grant Agreement Number 314068).
For further details, please contact Fernando Castro