Glowing plastic wallpaper: LECs could make it happen

Researchers at Linköping and Umeå universities in Sweden, working with American colleagues, have come up with an organic light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) billed as an inexpensive replacement for OLEDs. Its transparent electrode is made of the carbon material graphene.

Researcher Nathaniel Robinson from Linköping University says that all LEC components can be produced from liquid solutions, bringing the possibility of making LECs in a roll-to-roll processes which potentially could be quite inexpensive. Such a development, in turn, could pave the way for entirely plastic-based lighting and display components in the form of large flexible sheets rolled up or applied as wallpaper.

The conventional way of producing transparent electrodes is to make them from indium tin oxide. But indium is in short supply, and the alloy has a complicated life cycle. The raw material for the fully organic and metal-free LEC, on the other hand, is inexhaustible and can be fully recycled.

The study is published in the journal ACS Nano. “Graphene and mobile ions: the key to all-plastic, solution-processed light-emitting devices,” is by Piotr Matyba, Hisato Yamaguchi, Goki Eda, Manish Chhowalla, Ludvig Edman, and Nathaniel D. Robinson.

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