Organic light emitting diode (OLED) based displays are well suited for fabrication on flexible polymer substrates. In order to achieve the vision of a highly flexible, rollable display, significant progress must be made in understanding and overcoming the mechanical limitations of the component materials. Methodologies and metrics for evaluating thin film components as well as full devices on flexible substrates need to be developed and standardized. A new technique for bend testing is described here and compared to a more traditional technique. One thin film component of flexible OLEDs that must be very mechanically robust is the permeation barrier. It is desirable to have a rapid method to characterize the onset of cracking upon bending of a barrier-coated substrate. We have developed a convenient method that allows characterization of mechanical cracking of flexible permeation barriers. In addition, transparent conductors with mechanical properties superior to those of ITO are desired for improved flexibility of displays. We report dramatically improved mechanical properties of multilayer ITO-Ag-ITO films that also exhibit excellent electrical and optical properties. Finally, we show preliminary results from bend tests of complete OLED devices on polymer substrates. The results demonstrate that in addition to evaluating component materials, other factors must be considered for integrated devices, and further investigation on this subject is needed.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.