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Le Mans Race Car Uses Flexible OLEDs

Photonics.com
Jun 2010
EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands, June 11, 2010 — In this year’s 24 hours Le Mans race (June 12-13), the ORECA01 car from French racing team Oreca will be using rear view mirrors with an integrated thin film encapsulated flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) on the back. Since flexible OLED lighting and signage devices will only be available on the market (and in our homes) within a few years, the initiators of the project - Huntsman Advanced Materials and Holst Center - consider the integration in the composite material of the race car as a great success. The results of the project are valuable for the road-to-market of OLED lighting technology.


The flexible OLED, which displays Huntsman's Araldite brand, will be used as part of the rear view mirrors on the French racing team Oreca's Le Mans car.

Before flexible, energy efficient OLED lighting and signage devices can be commercialized, there are some important research challenges to be solved. To use OLEDs on the car, there was one critical step to overcome. OLEDs are sensitive to moisture, and even to oxygen, and had to be protected from these in order to maintain a long lifetime. The current success of the OLED integration in the car is dependent on the encapsulation technology and Araldite composite materials of Huntsman Advanced Materials.

The OLED itself displays the logo Araldite - a brand which belongs to Huntsman - and was provided by Holst Center, a Dutch open-innovation initiative by imec (B) and TNO (NL). At Holst Center, leading industrial and academic partners from across the world collaborate in mixed teams to solve shared research challenges.

Holst Center and its partners are amongst the very few who are already able to make flexible OLED lighting and signage devices. Part of the OLED research was conducted within the European FP7 program Fast2Light, coordinated by Holst Center.


Pierre Seze, Composite Department Manager at Oreca, holding the rear view mirror of the ORECA01 race car. With integrated OLED that was developed by Holst Center and its research partners.


“We are very proud to see our technology successfully applied in this ambitious and prestigious project. To my knowledge, it is the first time that an OLED on flexible foil is shown outside the laboratory in an actual application. Because of the harsh conditions, applications in automotive are always very demanding for the technologies that are used,” said Ton van Mol, program manager at Holst Center. “Racing teams like Oreca raise the bar even higher. The results of this integration project will be very valuable in our further research. We wish the entire team all the best during the race and hope that drivers, car and OLED will make a bright finish.”

“The integration of the OLEDs into the ORECA O1’s rear view mirrors represents a great success. The ORECA car has already proven its speed and reliability over the past three seasons and by working hand in hand with other members of the team we have the opportunity to test our materials far beyond the limits of normal conditions,” said André Genton, Huntsman CEO. “If Araldite can withstand the demands of a racing track, then we know we have a winning formula.”

“The integration of the OLED system in our carbon fiber pre-preg represents several advantages for our race car. The first one is the weight. Indeed with the OLED system our race car mirror carbon fiber made, keep its performance in terms of weight. Furthermore the integration of the OLED system doesn’t imply any mechanical problem on the carbon fiber pre-preg made car mirror. This technology fit perfectly with the very demanding constraints of endurance race such Le Mans 24 Hours,” added Pierre Seze, composite department manager at Oreca.

For more information, visit:  www.holstcentre.com/en 




GLOSSARY
thin film
A thin layer of a substance deposited on an insulating base in a vacuum by a microelectronic process. Thin films are most commonly used for antireflection, achromatic beamsplitters, color filters, narrow passband filters, semitransparent mirrors, heat control filters, high reflectivity mirrors, polarizers and reflection filters.
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