QLEDs That Can Be Folded As Paper

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Researchers develop quantum dot light emitting diodes (QLEDs) based displays that can be folded freely as paper. 

Quantum dot light emitting diodes (QLEDs) have gained much attention as a promising alternative for next-generation display technologies due to its outstanding electroluminescence properties. QLED displays can be manufactured into an ultrathin form factor as it does not require any bulky components such as backlight units.

A research team led by KIM Dae-Hyeong (Professor at Seoul National University) and HYEON Taeghwan (Distinguished professor at Seoul National University) from the Center for Nanoparticle Research within the Institute for Basic Science have developed a foldable variant of the ultrathin QLED, inspired by origami. The researchers reported 3D foldable QLEDs, which can be freely transformed into various user-customized 3D structures, such as butterflies, airplanes, and pyramids.

The researchers achieved this using a new fabrication process that can partially etch the epoxy film deposited on the QLED surface without damaging the underlying QLED. They used a power-controllable carbon dioxide pulsed laser and the silver-aluminum alloy-based etch-stop layers to control the etching depth. The laser-etched part is relatively thin.

Using laser etching, researchers were able to achieve controlled precision of the radius of curvature. The QLEDs were abv to maintain a stable light-emitting performance even after it was repeatedly folded 500 times. 

“We were able to build a 3D foldable QLED that can be freely folded just like a paper artwork,” said KIM Dae-Hyeong, the vice-director of the Center for Nanoparticle Research. He also said, “By fabricating the passively driven, 3D foldable QLED arrays composed of 64 individual pixels, we have shown the possibility of developing displays with greater complexity in the future.” HYEON Taeghwan, the director of the Center for Nanoparticle Research, states that “Through the technology reported in this research, paper-like QLEDs that can be folded into various complex structures have been successfully fabricated. Who knows when the day will come when electronic paper with a display unit can replace real paper?”

The research has been published in the journal Nature Electronics.


 

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