Cambridge Display Technology eliminates indium tin oxide from OLED substrates

CDT has eliminated expensive indium tin oxide (ITO) from organic lighting panels, replacing it with a fine copper mesh, writes Steve Bush.

“This demonstration has shown the potential for patterned metal tracking using electroless metal deposition as a replacement for both ITO and traditional sputtered tracking,” said CDT. “ITO is widely used as a transparent conductor in the displays, lighting and photovoltaics industries, but is in short supply and expensive.”

ITO is also brittle and prone to cracking, particularly on flexible substrates

The copper mesh is not etched, but deposited using a process developed by Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT), a subsidiary of optics firm Carclo.

CIT prints a pattern of catalyst on the substrate, which causes copper to be laid-down when it is immersed in a metal-containing solution.

Copper tracks under 10µm have been deposited on glass “resulting in a highly transparent, highly conductive surface without the voltage drops of ITO-based technologies,” claimed CDT.

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