The Challenge of Producing Fiber-Based Organic Electronic Devices

Materials (Basel). 2014 Jul 18;7(7):5254-5267. doi: 10.3390/ma7075254.


The implementation of organic electronic devices on fibers is a challenging task, not yet investigated in detail. As was shown earlier, a direct transition from a flat device structure to a fiber substrate is in principle possible. However, a more detailed investigation of the process reveals additional complexities than just the transition in geometry. It will be shown, that the layer formation of evaporated materials behaves differently due to the multi-angled incidence on the fibers surface. In order to achieve homogenous layers the evaporation process has to be adapted. Additionally, the fiber geometry itself facilitates damaging of its surface due to mechanical impact and leads to a high surface roughness, thereby often hindering commercial fibers to be used as substrates. In this article, a treatment of commercial polymer-coated glass fibers will be demonstrated that allows for the fabrication of rather flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with cylindrical emission characteristics. Since OLEDs rely the most on a smooth substrate, fibers undergoing the proposed treatment are applicable for other organic electronic devices such as transistors and solar cells. Finally, the technique also supports the future fabrication of organic electronics not only in smart textiles and woven electronics but also in bent surfaces, which opens a wide range of applications.

Keywords: fibers; organic electronics; organic light emitting diodes; smart textiles; thin film deposition.