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EETE MAR 2014

optoelectronics Hybrid EL concept to print ‘light-effects’ directly on paper By Paul Buckley AN AUSTRIAN COMPANY claims to be edging closer to creating the capability to print ‘light-effects’ directly on paper and cardboard using electroluminescence technology. The result could include flashing lights on packaging, illuminated magazine covers and books with ‘highlighted’ areas. prelonic, a company founded by entrepreneur, Dr. Friedrich Eibensteiner, is well advanced in the development of the electroluminescent lamps (EL) technology to enable the printing of ‘light-effects’ directly onto paper and cardboard via conventional printing processes working in a normal printing environment. prelonic’s founder Dr. Eibensteiner admits there are still some critical technological barriers that need to be overcome. “It is not the printed lamp – that is an old and mature technology - it is the driver and the integration, which are really challenging,” explained Dr. Eibensteiner. “Most of the parts are already printed and fully integrated. The lamp, connectivity, switch and battery are printed directly onto the paper or cardboard. But with the driver, we are only half the way there. Most parts of the driver are already printed. However, some are still under development. And we are working on miniaturization, because at the moment, the area is more than an A5 sheet of paper. In the end it will come down to a fully printed driver on a few square centimeters.” Dr. Eibensteiner believes electroluminescence still seems to be the only light technology which can be printable and will be available in the next years with reasonable effort. Although LEDs are available Dr. Eibensteiner points out that they are not printable and they still require pick place processes. LEDs also only produce small light spots – even if they are robust and bright. OLEDs offer area lighting, but are not suitable for the printing applications for anumber of reasons including the need for clean room processes, encapsulation and high costs. Full development and roll-out of EL printing on paper will take some time admits Dr. Eibensteiner but he reckons after that a cost efficient technology for lights on magazines, books and packaging will be available. prelonic expects the first EL printing applications will be hybrid ones because the driver is still not fully developed. But prelonic has realized a solution that now enables printing by using most of the driver components which can be completed with few simple conventional printing functionalities. The hybrid approach could enable conventional screen printing in a normal paper and cardboard environment to be achievable which is a pre-condition for low cost mass production. 14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe March 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE MAR 2014
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