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DuPont Microcircuit Materials

E L Technology Provides Innovative
Dashboard Lighting For Italian Sports Car

Challenge: Compact, Reliable Backlighting

Italdesign of Moncalieri, Italy, designed its new Scighera prototype sports car with a host of innovative features, including a unique backlighting system for the dashboard. Standard dashboards currently use LEDs and complicated light channels to diffuse the point light source. But the Scighera's dash features slim, flexible and lightweight electroluminescent (EL) lamps which light up about 20 different functions, including the engine monitoring system. The lamps provide effective, uniform illumination of shaped and uneven surfaces; resist shocks and vibrations; and do not heat up or fail without warning like conventional lamps.

Solution: LuxPrint TM Pastes Create Cost-Effective Capacitor Structure

Pieffepi Vision of Pavia, Italy, produces these electro-luminescent lamps for Italdesign by screen-printing DuPont LuxPrint™ pastes onto a special grade of DuPont polyester film coated with indium tin oxide (ITO). Microencapsulated phosphors render the pastes damp-proof and extend their operating life.

The phosphor ink is printed on the ITO-sputtered polyester in a relatively simple silk-screen process, followed by the printing of two to three dielectric ink layers, a rear silver electrode ink, and an encapsulation ink. This forms a capacitor structure that emits light when an AC voltage is applied. Previous EL lamps used metallic foils and lamination methods.

The EL system used by Italdesign is highly versatile and extremely compact, since no space needs to be allowed for leads and cables. The exceptionally clear graphics enable a driver to check at a glance all the data on the car's performance, while using very little power.

The Scighera demonstrates that the use of electro-luminescent lamps can save space, reduce assembly of components, and simplify design, resulting in cost savings. Because of their unique features and performance, electroluminescent lamps provide an excellent alternative to incandescent lamps, LEDs and neon lamps in many industries. Additional existing automotive applications include backlighting LCD displays and the automatic gear change position. Other applications currently in testing are lighting for the glove compartment, backlighting for switches, and safety door strips.

For more information, call DuPont at 1-800-284-3382, press 3.