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Microfluidic Printing of High Performance Microgrids for High Efficiency, Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diodes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0018783
Agency Tracking Number: 237850
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 09b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001771
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-04-01
Small Business Information
3006 Longhorn Blvd Ste 113
Austin, TX 78758-7518
United States
DUNS: 078742328
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Melburne Lemieux
 (650) 804-8269
 melbs@electroninks.com
Business Contact
 Melburne LeMieux
Phone: (650) 804-8269
Email: melbs@electroninks.com
Research Institution
 University of Pittsburgh
 Paul Leu
 
1004 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261-0001
United States

 (412) 606-1275
 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

Currently, indium tin oxide (ITO) is used as the transparent conductive anode in all commercial organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). However, ITO has economic and technological limitations for OLEDs such as high cost, brittleness, and poor performance. The primary objective of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I proposal is to demonstrate the microfluidic printing of substrate embedded metal microgrids with transmission over 90% in the visible range and sheet resistance less than 1 Ω/square over a 10 x 10 cm area with all processing at low temperatures (< 120◦ C). The approach will be to develop a microfluidic printing technology, which utilizes selective hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas in the substrate, to pattern the metal ink into high performance, flexible transparent electrodes. The technical tasks of Phase I are to (1) develop high performance metal inks and stretchable metal inks, (2) develop microfluidic printing methods that pattern metal inks directly into rigid glass and flexible plastic substrates,(3) perform simulations to design metal microgrids for high performance, and (4) characterize manufactured samples optically and electronically and characterize performance under repeated bending and stretching. The results of this work will target the commercial application of OLEDs. This technology may lower the costs and improve the efficiencies of OLEDs used in displays, wearables, and lighting. The transparent electrode technology may also be applicable to RF-ID tags, artificial skin, and the Internet of Things. This proposed substrate embedded microgrids are a new disruptive technology that has the potential to exceed the performance of ITO, the standard for commercial transparent conductors. The main innovation of the proposed technology is that grids with small widths (< 10 µm) and large thicknesses (> 10 µm) can all be printed at low temperatures with high throughput embedded into substrates that allow for subsequent organic layer deposition. The PIs will collaborate with OLEDWorks in Phase II on integrating, testing, and characterizing the microgrids with state-of-the-art OLEDs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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