October 2005 Exclusive Feature: MATERIALS

Multilayer barrier coatings for flexible organic electronics

L.L. Moro, N.M. Rutherford, X. Chu, R.J. Visser, Vitex Systems, San Jose, California

All electronic and optoelectronic devices require protection from the influences of the environment. A thin-film, transparent, and flexible moisture and gas barrier called Barix can be applied at low temperatures (e.g., <80°C). Although this type of barrier layer can be used in many applications, its attributes make it a key enabling technology for creating plastic flexible substrates and for thin-film encapsulation of new generations of organic-based electronics such as organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, organic solar cells, photovoltaics, and large-area OLED-based lighting.

The OLED application is especially challenging since it requires a coating with very low water vapor permeability (WVTR) of <5x10-6g/m2/day. Currently, displays are being protected by glueing a glass lid — with a cavity filled with desiccant — on the backside of the display, which effectively protects the display against degradation from the environment, but doubles its thickness. The purpose of the thin-film barrier coating is to reduce the thickness and cost of the displays.

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If you have any questions or comments, please contact:
Julie MacShane, Managing Editor, SST at email: [email protected].


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