Wearable organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays that can be embedded on a textile substrate have been developed by a team of researchers in South Korea. The team successfully developed the displays using a planarization process to achieve a glass-like flat yet supple fabric that is more flexible than plastic substrates featuring the same thickness.
The research was led by professor Chi Kyung-chul of the Kaist University and was conducted with the support of Kolon Glotech, an automotive and life commodity company. The main issue in developing the wearable OLEDs for the team was the rough surface of fabrics and their high thermal expansion coefficient. The researchers used the planarization process to overcome these limitations, according to a leading Korean daily.
The OLED to be embedded on the textile substrate was developed using a vacuum thermal deposition process. The team also used the 'multi-layer thin film encapsulation technology' in order to prevent oxygen and moisture penetration into the display. These OLED is said to have a life of more than 1000 hours and an idle life of over 3500 hours.
Professor Kyung-chul said that textile OLED displays that are comparatively more flexible than plastic can contribute towards the development of wearable displays. This research paper was published in the Advanced Electronic Materials academic journal. (KD)