OLEDs can be integrated into textiles or will open up new applications

- Sep 12, 2018-

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are primarily known for their use in television screens and smart phone displays. With the advancement of technology, these OLEDs are increasingly used as sources of automotive lighting systems, such as taillights. Just recently, the Fraunhofer FEP Institute (Fraunhofer FEP) has developed OLED components that can be integrated into textiles.


This versatile OLED can be designed not only in light colors, but also in any shape, even transparent and dimmable. By applying them to ultra-thin films, they are investigating ways to apply such OLEDs to textiles. Its wide range of applications is not limited to fashion trends or unique brand and design elements.


Fraunhofer FEP flexible organic electronics OLED design and integration expert Jan Hesse said: "The integration of illuminating components and the apparel industry not only makes fashion design more novel, but also brings very real benefits: illuminating signs or applications are more likely to attract attention and extreme Greatly improved visibility, thus improving the safety of the wearer, for example in road traffic." I can imagine their use scenarios, such as work clothes for night activities.


Because scientists can adjust OLEDs to provide specific wavelength ranges, applications in special fields such as medicine are also achievable. Hesse pointed out: "For example, infrared is very effective in treating skin diseases, so shirts with integrated infrared light can also be used for phototherapy."


To simplify the integration of OLED components in apparel and to provide designers with a quick and easy way to use them, FEP scientists have developed a function button. This so-called O-button combines OLEDs based on ultra-thin films with microcontrollers on conventional boards. The button-shaped circuit board is connected to the fabric by conductive yarns, and the control of the OLED is realized by electric power. The OLED itself enables continuous dimming.


Hesse said: "The structure of this OLED is almost unlimited. Textiles completed in this way should provide designers with new and innovative design ideas, thus opening up more applications."