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 Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) on the back.
Since flexible OLEDs 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 Centre - consider the integration in the composite material of the race car as a great success.
OLEDs are paper-thin, lightweight devices consuming up to 70% less energy compared to conventional light sources, making them prime candidates for the next generation of lighting. Before flexible OLEDs can be commercialized, there are some research challenges to be solved. OLEDs are sensitive to moisture and oxygen, and had to be protected in order to maintain a long lifetime. The success of the OLED integration in the car is dependent on the encapsulation technology and Araldite(R) composite materials of Huntsman Advanced Materials.
The OLED itself displays the logo Araldite(R) - a brand that belongs to Huntsman - and was provided by Holst Centre. Holst Centre and its partners are amongst the very few who are already able to make flexible OLED lighting and signage devices. In the field of encapsulation technology and moist barriers for flexible electronic devices, Holst Centre and its partners are probably even ahead of all competition. Part of the research was conducted within the European FP7 program Fast2Light, coordinated by Holst Centre.