Kyulux, Inc., is commercializing the third-generation OLED emitter materials (Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence (TADF*) materials) that Professor Chihaya Adachi (Director, Kyushu University Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics Research (OPERA)) succeeded in developing as part of the Cabinet Office’s Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology (FIRST Program). The company has now put in place a structure that will facilitate the commercialization of this technology worldwide. The display market, which encompasses screens for televisions, cellphones, and IT devices, is on the verge of a major transition from the era of liquid crystal display panels to the era of panels based on organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
These OLEDs have tremendous potential, as they have a simple structure in which the organic compounds themselves emit light when electricity is passed through them.
While the patents for second-generation OLED emitter materials – the current level of technology – are controlled by U.S. companies and a large share of the market for the materials comes from South Korean companies, the new technology that Professor Adachi has succeeded in developing is referred to as the third-generation of emitter materials and offers the ultimate in light emission efficiency at a low cost.
Going forward, the display sector will become increasingly diverse, pursuing flexible and foldable displays as part of a push for thinner, lighter displays. As well as accommodating such changes, this cutting-edge new technology offers the prospect of displays that are easy to view even when in bright outdoor environments during the day, so it is attracting attention from markets worldwide. Hopes are high that it will inspire the next generation of technology not only in the display sector, but also in such fields as lighting.
Having been accredited as part of the Green Asia International Strategic Comprehensive Special Zone initiative being promoted by Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka City, Kyulux has put in place a structure that will enable it to commercialize this new technology worldwide from its base in Fukuoka, primarily drawing upon its links with Kyushu University, while leveraging a great deal of support not only at the local level, from the governments of Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka City, but also at the national level, from NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) and JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency). This is the biggest startup company to have been founded on the basis of Kyushu University’s research output.
Aiming to bring products employing TADF materials to market in 2018, Kyulux plans to bolster the international competitiveness of Japan’s advanced materials field by ensuring that the TADF and hyperfluorescence technologies originating in Japan become global standards for OLED emitter materials. Through its research programs, OPERA at Kyushu University will take on the challenge of further opening up the infinite possibilities of organic molecules and strive to exploit the scientific principles of the organic semiconductors of the future.
*1 TADF: A phenomenon that brings about fluorescence via thermal activation of reverse intersystem crossing from excited triplet states to an excited singlet state. Light is emitted via the triplet, generally resulting in long-life light emission, so it is called delayed fluorescence.