Finnish researchers develop large-surface light-emitting plastic film

Researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland have developed a new technique to deposit patterned OLED lighting elements on flexible plastic films.

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Image credit: Photo: Juha Sarkkinen

The achievement has the potential to result in a low-cost process technology for the development of flexible light emitting structured films. These films can be used on advertising displays, info signs, lighting fixtures and so on.

The new room-temperature deposition technology uses standard traditional gravure and screen printing. The method also enables transparent smart surfaces to be attached to window panels or packaging.

So far the process makes OLED lighting strips which are 0.2 mm thick and uses polymer based OLED emitters.

VTT says that currently those printed OLEDs suffer from a relatively low lifetime and can emit light for only around a year. This is due to the need of a better encapsulation technology.

“At this point, VTT’s plastic OLED film will only emit light for around a year, since light-emitting polymer materials are susceptible to oxygen and moisture. In the future, the film’s lifespan will increase as the development of screen protectors continues and the film’s application possibilities grow,” it says in the VTT news release.

“The plastic film is optimally suited to advertising campaigns, in which large light-emitting surfaces can be used to draw significantly more attention than can be gained through mere printed graphics or e-ink-type black-and-white displays that do not emit light,” says Head of Research Area Raimo Korhonen from VTT.

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