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Printed electronics to control flexible displays


* Partners of the “Forum Organic Electronics” excellence cluster are developing printable organic circuits
* BMBF promotes technology of the future for cost-efficient mass production of flat displays

Screens and display elements in mobile phones, e-readers for electronic books and measuring devices are now well-established features of our networked world. To make the manufacture of these mobile mass displays more cost effective, organic electronics is providing technical solutions, including flexible control circuits. The Technische Universität Darmstadt, tesa scribos GmbH, the Universität Stuttgart and BASF SE want to research into these printed electronics in the project “Complementary Circuit Technology for printed Displays” (German name Kosadis ). This project is an element of the “Forum Organic Electronics” cluster, one of the winners of the Excellence Cluster Competition held by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

The joint project is initially intended to resolve fundamental technological issues. These activities have a total volume of just under €3.5 million, to which the BMBF is contributing sponsorship funding of almost €1.9 million. Within this initiative, BASF SE is researching into optimized organic semiconductors for organic CMOS circuits. Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors are a complementary circuit technology with low energy consumption and high switching speeds.

In the next step, the printing specialists of the Technische Universität Darmstadt will optimize existing printing processes so that ultrathin transistor structures can be printed reproducibly. The Technische Universität Darmstadt will be supported in these efforts by tesa scribos GmbH, whose experts create structures measuring a few micrometers (µm) on theprinted layers by laser direct imaging.

The necessary electronics and display know-how is being contributed by the Universität Stuttgart. The research scientists of the Chair of Display Technology are specialized in developing different display elements and thin layer circuits for their control. As part of the Kosadis project, they intend to adapt the design of the structural elements to the special requirements of organic electronics and to design and construct a display based for the first time completely on organic electronics.

The printed electronics for flexible displays being researched in Kosadis are an important interface to many areas of organic electronics. Based on conductive polymers or smaller molecules from organic chemistry, they are regarded as an important technology of the future. Compared to silicon-based components, organic transistor circuits can be printed easily, in mass production and more cost effectively. Thereby they open the way to new applications such as flexible, rollable and mobile displays, electronic price labels or intelligent labels that inform consumers at all times about the condition of their goods.

The “Forum Organic Electronics” excellence cluster is a cooperative network of three DAX companies, eight international corporations, six medium-sized companies and eleven research institutes and colleges including two elite universities. The objectives of the excellence cluster in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region are to create the world’s leading research, development and production center for organic electronics, one of the most attractive workplaces for top-flight researchers and young academics as well as the world’s leading innovation center for knowledge transfer and company start-ups. The 28 companies, universities and research institutes are cooperating in the research projects for the technology of the future, organic electronics, which is being sponsored by the BMBF to an amount of more than €40 million.


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