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The pioneering work of Prof. Karl Leo: Organic electronics and its groundbreaking applications

The use of organic electronics was heavily driven by the research of Prof. Karl Leo, a pioneer that laid the foundation for a multitude of technologies.

Valerie Morris
Valerie Morris

Jul 03, 2022

Prof. Karl Leo is a highly acclaimed researcher involved in many successful ventures. His exploration of organic electronics has led to the groundbreaking invention of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which have become an inherent part of our life. It is expected that in 2022, 45% of smartphones worldwide will be equipped with an OLED display - a technology founded in Dresden that has disrupted the global market.

His success is based on a passion for serving the greater goodand his research aims to make people’s lives more convenient and more sustainable. He has the gift to know exactly how to apply his theoretical findings and turn them into useful applications.

Professor_Karl_Leo@ [European Patent Office] / Prof. Karl Leo

A short background story of a highly acclaimed researcher

Prof. Karl Leo became professor of optoelectronics at the TU Dresden in 1993. He is the head of the Institute of Applied Physics (IAPP) and an internationally recognized researcher in condensed matter physics. Among his achievements is the pioneering work on organic semiconductors, including the successful introduction of OLEDs and organic solar cells. Many of these technologies were successfully transferred to spin-off companies like Novaled, Heliatek, and most recently Senorics.

Prof. Karl Leo was the doctoral advisor of Senorics’ co-founders Dr. Ronny Timmreck, Dr. Robert Brückner, and Dr. Matthias Jahnel. It was not just his groundbreaking research, but also his recruitment talent that led to the establishment of Senorics. He encouraged the founders to turn the theoretical findings into a tool that would benefit the masses: Material Sensing.


Making history with OLED technology: Novaled

Novaled, a spin-off from TU Dresden, was founded in 2001. As a leader in the field of organic light-emitting diodes, they specialize in high efficiency, long-lifetime OLED structures. Prof. Karl Leo's work with semiconductors was the basis for the development of the organic light-emitting diodes, which are now an indispensable part of the screens we look at every day.

In 2013, Novaled was acquired by Samsung Electronics and their affiliate Cheil Industries for 260 million euros, fulfilling Samsung’s growing need for OLED displays and strengthening their position on the market.

Paving the way for a more sustainable future: Heliatek

Heliatek, just as Novaled and Senorics, is a spin-off from the TU Dresden. The company, which specializes in organic photovoltaics, was established in 2006. Prof. Karl Leo was one of the six visionary founders. Over the years, Heliatek has raised a substantial amount of money, which was used to turn their theoretical findings into hands-on products. In 2021, their hard work came to fruition, when they launched the HeliaSol - the first organic solar film. Heliatek has now started their mass production, making their technology available on a large scale.


It is only a matter of time until Senorics’ disruptive sensor takes a place next to OLED screens in the latest smartphones, allowing everyone to benefit from Material Sensing.

Novaled, Heliatek, and Senorics – three success stories made in Dresden.


Valerie Morris

I’m Senorics’ Content Creator. Most of the things you read on our website or on our social media accounts were written by me. I started working here in March 2020 when I was still living in Dresden. Now I have moved to New Zealand and work remotely from the opposite time zone.


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