The proposed EAGER combines recent advances in several scientific disciplines, including organic and polymer semiconductors, key materials behind highly flexible and intrinsically stretchable organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), single walled carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires spun out of efforts in nanomaterials development, and the demonstration of intrinsically stretchable polymer OLEDs and highly flexible CNT backplanes. This work will represent a major step forward in promoting practical application of wearable electronics, with the functional devices taking an innovative form factor, fabricated with non-toxic materials and by a low-cost process. Such displays will be light weight and stretchable. They can be folded like handkerchiefs into small sizes for easy portability and unfolded into large screens to plug in a number of small size portable electronics for use as large size, external screens. The displays can also conformally cover uneven surfaces and cope with body movement, thus making them wearable like human clothing.
This EAGER will investigate the essential materials and scalable process for the demonstration of active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays that can be repeatedly stretched by 50%. All the components in such display including the OLEDs, thin-film transistors and interconnect are intrinsically stretchable. The simplicity and stretch ability of such new displays could offer important benefits such as deployment into large size displays from a small stowed volume onto uneven surfaces, compatibility with wearable electronic devices, and light weight. To achieve the above mentioned goals, the EAGER project will focus on the following research objectives: (1) Study of fundamental structure-property relationship essential for stretchable thin-film transistors. The research involves extensive exploration on materials design for the channel, the source/drain and the dielectric layers with superior stretch ability and inter-layer adhesion for ideal device performance ; (2) Integration of stretchable OLEDs and stretchable thin-film transistors. A set of RGB lighting pixels will be printed and connected to their neighboring transistors by ink-jet printing. The work involves the selection of light emitting materials for red, green and blue color emission and the optimization of printing process for uniform light emission. For broader dissemination of the research results and to improve awareness to the importance of advanced manufacturing for next generation flexible and stretchable electronics, the proposed research includes plans for educational outreach components, including research/teaching lab development and community college and local high school outreach programs. FSU College of Engineering is a joint venture between FAMU (an HBCU) and FSU.