First Paper-Thin Stainless Steel Presented at AIMCAL 2017  

First Paper-Thin Stainless Steel Presented at AIMCAL 2017

Stainless steel isn’t the material one’s thinking of first, when it comes to bending because of its missing flexibilty. In cooperation with Nippon Steel & Sumikin Materials Co., Ltd. (NSMAT) and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC)Fraunhofer FEP has changed the material’s image. During the latest AIMCAL conference, which took place in Florida in October 2017, the German research organization and the world’s second-biggest steel manufacturer presented the first OLEDs on paper-thin stainless steel foil.  Up to now, water vapor and oxygen were high risks to the OLEDs’ organic layers. Stainless steel has excellent barrier properties against environmental influences and is, therefore, a better substrate for OLEDs than traditional ones like glass or plastic webs. Another pro? Its thermal conductivity. But how does the process of turning stainless steel into a flexible material look like? Japanese scientists developed a planarization layer, on which the organic OLED-material is applied by vapor deposition. Thanks to its roll-to-roll processing lines, Fraunhofer FED is able to manufacture this OLEDs stainless steel combined with a high reproducibility.

First Paper-Thin Stainless Steel

Image Source: Fraunhofer FEP

Potential Fields of Use of Paper-Thin Stainless Steel

Until now stainless steel foil has mainly been utilized for thin-film photovoltaics and batteries. The latest developments now open a range of whole new possibilities.  According to Jun Nakatsuka, manager of business development at NSMAT, especially the automobile industry might benefit from the new technology. Turn indicator and back-up lights are only two out of many potential uses. Another sector where the results might be a real game changer are consumer electronics like TVs or other devices with displays.

Do you want to dig deeper into flexible OLEDs? Here you’ll find more information on the topic.