Researchers at Fraunhofer FEP have carried out cytocompatibility studies of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) for the first time. The studies tested how well cells tolerate OLEDs. According to the researchers, the results demonstrate the promising potential for using OLEDs in the medical field, such as in light therapy. The researchers intend to publish their findings in a white paper entitled “Preliminary cytocompatibility studies for encapsulated OLEDs”, and Dr. Jacqueline Hauptmann will present the findings at the 4th Industry Partners Day of the Fraunhofer FEP in Dresden on September 28, 2016.
Light therapy provides an essential method to promote the healing of wounds. Difficult and protracted skin healing processes often result from chronic and infected wounds. However, exposure to light can positively affect such wounds.
The Fraunhofer FEP in Dresden has years of experience in researching processes, technologies, and applications for flexible OLEDs. However, the researchers had to look for any potential toxic effects caused by the constituent materials before they could employ OLED area light sources for possible medical applications. Previously, the researchers found no such studies on what is known as the cytocompatibility of flexible OLEDs.
Now for the first time, a pilot study led by Dr. Schönfelder, head of the Medical Applications Research Group at Fraunhofer FEP has evaluated the cytocompatibility of flexible OLED systems. Dr. Schönfelder recounts, “Even after electrical operation and exposure to mechanical loading by bending, no toxic substances able to alter cells diffused from the OLEDs.”
As a follow-on, the researchers conducted studies on the influence of OLED light using in vitro cell cultures from the skin and the immune system suffering from specified damage. Initial results showed the effects of accelerated auto-recovery that could be the foundation for future therapeutic applications.
Looking ahead, Division Director Dr. Christian May remarked, “We need long-term studies yet to be able to guaranty cytocompatibility during exposure to OLED light. Safe electrical connections, power supplies, control circuitry, and component perimeter seals are important aspects that we are dedicating ourselves to – before direct application to the patient is allowed.”