Professor Kyung Cheol Choi’s research team has successfully integrated fabrics into organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) to create ultra-flexible wearable displays. This research project was published in the July 21 online edition of the international journal Scientific Reports, with PhD candidate Seungyeop Choi as the first author.
With significant improvements in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technologies, displays have come to be a key factor in the development of next-generation technologies. Since 2011, when research on the formation of lights on fabrics was first conducted, further research was continuously carried out. However, there was limited progress due to the rough surface and flexible nature of fabrics being limited by the stiff nature of semiconductors.
In order to address this problem, Professor Choi’s research team approached it through two methods: fabric and fiber. Through these approaches, in 2015, the research team was successful in achieving the functionality of an OLED, hundreds of nanometers thick, on textile surfaces through thermal junction flattening techniques and, in 2016, developed luminous polymer devices that were able to maintain their brightness on thin fibers. The aftermath of this research is predicted to not only lead to a higher understanding of the mechanical properties of luminous devices, but also contribute to the advancement of the wearable devices market.
PhD candidate Seungyeop Choi stated, “The interlaced structure and empty spaces in fabrics are key in reducing the mechanical stress in OLEDs.” He continued by elaborating, ”If displays are based off fabrics, these displays can be crumpled and are very flexible.” Professor Choi also stated, “This research will greatly affect not only the e-textile industry but also the automobile industry and healthcare industries that utilize light based treatment.”