Sumitomo Chemical joins Holst Centre OLED research program

September 20, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Sumitomo Chemical has joined Holst Centre's shared research program on printed organic lighting and signage. The move is intended to speed efforts to develop manufacturing processes for low-cost, flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). As a leading supplier of materials for polymer OLEDs, Sumitomo Chemical's involvement in the Holst Centre eco-system will extend the program's investigation of multi-layer solution processes for high-efficiency OLEDs.

OLEDs are large-area light sources that could cut lighting-related energy use by 50-90% and enable unique lighting applications. They are manufactured by depositing numerous thin layers of materials onto glass substrates or flexible plastic foils. Today's highest-efficiency OLEDs are made using evaporative processes in vacuum conditions. Switching to atmospheric-pressure solution-based processes could reduce the cost of OLED manufacturing by removing the need for expensive vacuum equipment and reducing the wastage of costly OLED materials.

Developing these solution-based processes is a key goal for Holst Centre's Printed Organic Lighting and Signage program. Sumitomo Chemical's participation will give program members access to high-end OLED materials, particularly for the active (light-emitting) layers. At the same time, Sumitomo Chemical will be able to draw on the program's vast expertise to optimize its materials for low-cost production and flexible substrates.

"We are very pleased to be working with Sumitomo Chemical. Their expertise and high-end OLED materials will help us develop solution-processed OLEDs that match the efficiency of today's highest-performing devices but at lower manufacturing costs," said Ton van Mol, Partnership Director at Holst Centre.

Ikuzo Ogawa, Sumitomo Managing Executive Officer explained that from his perspective Holst Centre's unique infrastructure and its excellent partner network in the OLED lighting community were the decisive factors to join the program.