Researchers show ulra-thin stretchable polymer LEDs

August 29, 2013 // By Juien Happich
Researchers in Europe and Japan have produced what they claim to be the first polymer organic light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) that can be stretched while lit.

Matthew White from the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells in Austria and his teammates produced the 2-µm thick PLEDs on a 1.4 µm thick PET foil substrate, through spin coating. They stuck films onto silicone-coated rigid glass, which holds them in place using van der Waals forces alone, allowing easy post-fabrication removal. The researchers use a polymer electrode instead of ITO, they also synthesised an air-stable red light-emitting polymer so they could dispense with the protective layer. The demonstration devices' electrode materials were not air stable, so they only worked for a few hours.

Because they are so thin, the devices can be crumpled, hence to make stretchable PLEDs, the film only need to be bonded to extended elastomeric tape. When the tape contracts the PLEDs fold randomly, ready to be pulled flat when stretched. Next on the researchers' agenda is to make foils that combine entire PLED displays with a power source.

Source and top image: Royal Society of Chemistry. See a video of the stretchable polymer here: