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Textiles that emit light!

Aug 11, 2016

Researchers have developed a flexible, lightweight and low-cost textile that can be used in light-emitting clothing, as well as buildings and signs.
 
“The attractive form factor of textiles, notably their characteristic high flexibility and low weight, distinguishes these e-textiles from other electronic device architectures, and it is anticipated that it will pave the way for a plethora of highly desired wearable applications,” according to the researchers.
 
Currently, the most popular light-emitting device technology is organic light-emitting diode (OLED), which although flexible and transparent, requires a complicated and expensive fabrication process. OLED fabrication uses costly vacuum technology and it also depends on the fault-sensitive deposition of thin layers.
 
Unlike the OLED fabrication process, the light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) fabrication process provides textiles with illuminative abilities without much expense or time. Instead of vacuum technology, LEC is fabricated from only solution-processable materials, which are compatible with low-cost light sources.
 
The new textile emits bright yellow light equally for more than 180 hours, which is made possible by a special process. Polymer fibres and woven silver-coated copper wires are put together in a polymer matrix, which establishes a fabric electrode. This transparent material is then coated with an LEC.