FOLEDs are organic light emitting devices built on flexible substrates. Flat panel displays have traditionally been fabricated on glass substrates because of structural and/or processing constraints. Flexible materials have significant performance advantages over traditional glass substrates.
Flexibility: For the first time, FOLEDs may be made on a wide variety of substrates that range from optically-clear plastic films to reflective metal foils. These materials provide the ability to conform, bend or roll a display into any shape. This means that a FOLED display may be laminated onto a helmet face shield, a military uniform shirtsleeve, an aircraft cockpit instrument panel or an automotive windshield.
Ultra-lightweight, thin form: The use of thin plastic substrates will also significantly reduce the weight of flat panel displays in cell phones, portable computers and, especially, large-area televisions-on-the-wall. For example, the weight of a display in a laptop may be significantly reduced by using FOLED technology.
Durability: FOLEDs will also generally be less breakable, more impact resistant and more durable compared to their glass-based counterpart.
Cost-effective processing: OLEDs are projected to have full-production level cost advantage over most flat panel displays. With the advent of FOLED technology, the prospect of roll-to-roll processing is created. To this end, our research partners have demonstrated a continuous organic vapor phase deposition (OVPD) process for large-area roll-to-roll OLED processing. While continuous web FOLED processing requires further development, this process may provide the basis for very low-cost, mass production.