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OLED Lighting Devices Created by GE on Roll-to-Roll Process  (Source: Business Wire)
GE demos OLED manufacturing process similar to a newspaper printer

Looking at the future of displays for TVs, computers, and other electronic devices OLED is one of the main contenders to replace the traditional LCD screens common today. The problem with OLED displays at this time is that the manufacturing process required to produce the OLED screens is, for now, relatively cumbersome and costly.

GE has been conducting research into cheaper methods of manufacturing OLEDs funded by a $13 million research collaboration between GE Global Research, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST funded the research with the goal of demonstrating a cheap, commercially viable way to mass produce OLED products.

GE announced today it succeeded in devising a method to cheaply produce OLED lighting products using a newspaper printing like roll to roll process. Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics wrote in a blog post, “about 4 years ago, we set out to find out for ourselves whether it could be done.  We found a partner company (Energy Conversion Devices or ECD) with great experience at making roll-to-roll equipment and together we were successful in winning a proposal that we submitted to a government agency (NIST) looking to help fund high risk technology development.”

What Duggal and his team of researchers did was devise a method of manufacturing OLED lighting products on a roll-to-roll machine. ECD then built the roll-to-roll machine needed for the manufacturing process.

Duggal went on to write, “Because this had never been done before, we faced some real technical challenges - especially given our program time constraints that often meant we had to start designing machine modules before we had the device fabrication process completely figured out!  Anyway, in the end it all came together and we were successful in making our deliverable.”

While OLED lighting is an interesting proposition for lighting homes and business in the future, the really interesting application of the roll to roll technology for technophiles will be if the technology used to make the lighting products can be refined for use in making OLED panels for electronics.

According to Duggal, “Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.”

This process could lead to cheap, easy to produce OLED TVs and PC displays in the future. The reason Sony cites for its low production volume and high relative cost of its XEL-1 OLED TV is the cost and complexity of making the OLED panel itself on traditional production lines, though almost every manufacturer agrees OLEDs will eventually cost substantially less than LCDs of the same size.

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By jadeskye on 3/12/2008 5:45:29 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone else notice how we seem to be printing everything these days?

carbon nanotubes, OLED screens, Solar panels.

kinda crazy. we'll be printing hybrid cars soon.

RE: Ink.
By KillerNoodle on 3/12/2008 5:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
There is a system, be it just an idea or if they actually made it, that will "Print" buildings layer by layer. And by doing so it would/does reduce building costs by a significant amount due to only needing minimal materials. This is most likely why printing manufacturing systems will be more cost effective for many different applications.

RE: Ink.
By Xodus Maximus on 3/12/2008 6:10:49 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is that its made by Epson, and the replacement cartridge prices are ridiculous!

Just kidding, but it would be so cool to have a giant plotter that molds walls and other complex shapes in layers, I can see making some awesome designs this way.

RE: Ink.
By KillerNoodle on 3/12/2008 6:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Article about Printing Buildings.

architects are among the very few providing custom design services in a product-infatuated society. this presents a profound problem, especially since few clients prossess an understanding of the efforts necessary to create custom, products, and even fewer are willing to adequately finance them.

As this trend continues, 3D “printing” of full-scale building structures seems inevitable — especially considering that graduating digital designers are now creating 3D models by printing them and are eager to realize large-scale fabrication of complex forms that can’t readily be built by hand. Large 3D-printed structures (up to 14' x 20' x 8') can already be made in concrete using a prototype unit developed by University of Southern California industrial engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis. Khoshnevis can see no reason why rapid prototyping technology won’t eventually be scaled up, especially as material costs come down and funding increases.17 Architects using rapid fabrication technology at a building scale could economically create complex singular designs as well as customizable multiples. First these will appear as building components and later as full-scale structures.

Source: Harvard Design Magazine (4th bold header)

RE: Ink.
By GTVic on 3/12/2008 8:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
That article doesn't quite make sense to me. If we have the technology to print buildings then I think we will see much more innovation in the industry and a reduction in manufacturing times and costs. That will allow people to spend more time and money on the original design.

RE: Ink.
By paydirt on 3/13/2008 9:34:34 AM , Rating: 1
What people seem to be missing is that the government is subsidizing GE's research in "consumer electronics." Why not give Intel and AMD and nVidia research grants as well?!

RE: Ink.
By Hieyeck on 3/13/2008 12:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Because the world doesn't revolve around you or gamers. Even AMD/nvidia doesn't bank on gamers. Top-tier gamer cards only make up about 15% of their sales, even less of their profit.

RE: Ink.
By exanimas on 3/12/2008 6:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
They already have a mini-version of the tech you're talking about

I understand it's much more difficult to make one on a large enough to build a building layer-by-layer, but I guess you could call the 3D printer a scale test for the big version. There's some cool videos of people using them up on youtube if you're interested at all.

RE: Ink.
By alp689 on 3/12/2008 7:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of that Discovery channel special series 2057 or something like that.

It talked about medical advancements, and how they believe we'll be able to print living organs for transplants.

They also did a small demo where they ran a few heart cells through a slightly modified printer (I believe it was a LaserJet III) to create tissue, and they manged to get it beating!

RE: Ink.
By swtethan on 3/13/2008 3:39:00 AM , Rating: 3
Print me a girlfriend then!

NIST funding
By fic2 on 3/12/2008 6:09:47 PM , Rating: 5
I am all for the government funding risky technologies, BUT I am betting that the two companies involved will own all the patents on this which I am against. If my tax dollars are funding research and the research pans out the gov't should own the patents and any U.S. company should be granted a royalty free license as long as it is manufactured in the U.S.

RE: NIST funding
By Phynaz on 3/12/2008 9:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
Define what a U.S. company is.

RE: NIST funding
By paydirt on 3/13/2008 9:36:34 AM , Rating: 3
I noticed this in the article as well and totally agree.

RE: NIST funding
By Viditor on 3/13/2008 11:08:52 AM , Rating: 4
"If my tax dollars are funding research and the research pans out the gov't should own the patents and any U.S. company should be granted a royalty free license as long as it is manufactured in the U.S"

The government is giving grants which fund less than 1% of the total project...the rest is funded by investors who expect to get paid.

RE: NIST funding
By theapparition on 3/14/2008 9:01:06 AM , Rating: 3
Completely agree. The grants are only an incentive to offset taxes and interest charges for companies to fund R&D. It is hardly welfare, since the government is investing that companies will have a competitive edge, make some new exciting products, which in turn will create jobs and tax revenue.

Typo in caption
By AToZKillin on 3/12/2008 5:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
OLED Lighting Devices Created by GE on Roll to Roll Process

Other than that, great article. How much was OLED going to retail at for say a 30" screen? And will this affect pricing (as I'm sure it'll affect costs) significantly? Hoping this'll be available sometime within the next 5 years, as I just got a monitor which I'm afraid won't last very long because it's a Soyo.

RE: Typo in caption
By fic2 on 3/12/2008 6:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Also, NIST is National Institute of Standards and Technology. Kind of left off the 'T' part which is what this article is about.

By semo on 3/12/2008 5:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
though almost every manufacturer agrees OLEDs will eventually cost substantially less than LCDs of the same size.
when, when i ask you, when?

i was hoping we would see a lot more mobile phones with oled screens by now. i can't even think of one

RE: when
By MaulBall789 on 3/13/2008 4:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
An inexpensive 70" OLED HDTV at 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,500 cd/m2 brightness will debut on the market on December 22, 2012. Price to be set at $599.99.

I wonder...
By drunkenmastermind on 3/12/2008 7:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
If Gutenberg and Edison ever would have imagined that their two inventions would be amalgamated to create a product of this nature? :)

RE: I wonder...
By alp689 on 3/12/2008 7:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Considering they lived nearly 400 years apart from one another, I doubt it was possible they could... ;)

Laptop LCD backlight
By on 3/13/2008 11:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
A very thin, lightweight, low-power, long-life source of backlighting for laptop displays and, eventually, LCD HDTVs.

RE: Laptop LCD backlight
By jlips6 on 3/13/2008 12:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
that would be really nice, considering nowadays laptop screens gobble up tons of juice if you want them to be nicely lit. And the quality in all around aspects sucks. (viewable angles, contrast, fps, etc. etc.)

By Mitch101 on 3/12/2008 5:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
Great - Now make me a seamless wrap around screen.

RE: WooHoo
By paydirt on 3/13/2008 9:46:32 AM , Rating: 1
Or, how about this. 3 of those screens wrapped around your body for the snazziest shirt in the universe. Just think of how much tail you could pull down wearing one of those at a nightclub! (and miniature ones to wear as condoms)

Picture Caption
By PlasmaBomb on 3/12/2008 5:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
Roll to Roill Process

That should be roll to roll.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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