The UltraWELD project to improve OLED encapsulation

August 10, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Partly-funded by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, the UltraWELD project aims to develop photonic-based processes for highly dissimilar material joining. Led by Oxford Lasers Limited, the consortium includes the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) alongside Glass Technology Services Ltd, Coherent Scotland Limited, Heriot Watt University, Gooch & Housego Limited, and Leonardo MW Limited.

With a focus on joining dissimilar materials, the UltraWeld project will focus primarily on the bonding of glass to metal, for example in the hermetic sealing of thin glass OLED devices and optical components for electro-optics, miniature lasers and sensors.

The 30-month project will additionally explore secondary benefits, such as airtight sealing for vacuum insulated glazing. This includes toughened safety glass on metal for lightweight vehicle windows, hermetic sealing of microfluidic devices and glass window bonding to silicon PV panels to protect against moisture.

Oxford Lasers Limited will both coordinate the programme and build a laser prototype machine to demonstrate new developments based on advanced ultrafast laser micro-joining of highly dissimilar materials. CPI will make OLED devices on glass substrates up to 100 microns thick, providing to a partner to carry out laser hermetic sealing.

Using material combinations of crystal quartz to stainless steel and BK7 glass to aluminium, the improved bonding technique is expected to have applications in defence and aerospace.

CPI's in-house facilities and expertise in manufacturing and testing of OLED devices will support the development of a laser prototype machine that will produce robust repeatable welds and deliver associated process monitoring and post-process inspection. High repetition rate ultrafast lasers will also be used to achieve high precision laser welding in confined glass-metal interfaces.

"We expect to be able to offer customised laser micro-joining systems and subcontract services to the defence and aerospace and thin glass OLED sectors by 2020. We will also extend our reach to other application areas with some synergy such as photonics, microfluidics, solar PV and glass microprocessing technology, which are well aligned to benefit from our microwelding advances", commented Dr Sam Chan, CPI Senior Scientist and UltraWELD Project Manager.

Innovate UK - www.innovateuk.org   


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