17 March 2015

Exploiting ground-breaking research in the field of thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF), the new €4M PHEBE project aims to develop innovative, high-efficiency, blue emitters for white organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). While OLEDs are already an efficient and resource-saving illumination system, the new emitters are expected to significantly enhance their cost performance and environmental-friendliness.
Today, two key issues prevent current iridium-based, phosphorescent OLED emitters from gaining a major fraction of the world lighting markets. Firstly, iridium is the fourth rarest naturally-occurring element on the planet, so basing a large-scale, high-volume lighting industry on this resource is risky as well as detrimental to the environment. Secondly, iridium-based blue phosphor devices have short working lifetimes and low energy efficacy that are well-below industry expectations.
However, recent research by the Durham University on intramolecular charge transfer systems that enable TADF (ICT-TADF) and intermolecular exciplex charge transfer systems that enable TADF (Exciplex-TADF) has demonstrated very promising improvements in energy efficacy. Also, these molecular systems do not use iridium.
Tackling these issues and new field of research, the PHEBE project is being undertaken by a strong and multidisciplinary consortium of partners spanning the development and commercialisation of the new emitters: OLED lighting research organisations (TU Dresden, Kaunas University of Technology and Durham University), OLED material and technology expert (Novaled), and OLED lighting device manufacturer (Astron-FIAMM).
Specifically, TU Dresden is focusing on material design using theoretical quantum chemical approaches during the project’s material development cycle. KTU is elaborating synthetic schemes for exciplex emitters and intramolecular charge transfer materials and synthesizing the most promising compounds. Time resolved spectroscopy and materials characterization is being provided by the Durham University .
Meanwhile, Novaled is providing best-fit transport and doping material sets, technology and expert know-how on stack architecture and Astron-FIAMM is ensuring the project’s goals are aligned with market needs and will produce OLED lighting modules demonstrators to illustrate the end results.
Lastly, the project coordinator, Intelligentsia Consultants will conduct a life cycle assessment to evaluate and compare the new OLEDs.
The PHEBE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 641725. It started on 1st February 2015 and will run for 3 years.
PHEBE project partners at the recent kick-off meeting in Dresden