Top-Emitting OLEDs

by Tobias Schwab

Institution: Technische Universität Dresden
Department: Fakultät Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Record ID: 1105685
Full text PDF: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa-157992


In the last decades, investigations of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) have tackled several key challenges of this lighting technology and have brought the electron to photon conversion efficiency close to unity. However, currently only 20% to 30% of the photons can typically be extracted from OLED structures, as total internal reflection traps the major amount of the generated light inside the devices. This work focuses on the optimization of the optical properties of top-emitting OLEDs, in which the emission is directed away from the substrate. In this case, opaque materials, e.g. a metal foil or a display backplane can be used as substrate as well. Even though top-emitting OLEDs are often preferred for applications such as displays, two main challenges remain: the application of light extraction structures and the deposition of highly transparent materials as top electrode, without harming the organic layers below. Both issues are addressed in this work. First, top-emitting OLEDs are deposited on top of periodically corrugated light outcoupling structures, in order to extract internally trapped light modes by Bragg scattering and to investigate the basic scattering mechanisms in these devices. It is shown for the first time that the electrical performance is maintained in corrugated top-emitting OLEDs deposited on top of light extraction structures. Furthermore, as no adverse effects to the internal quantum efficiency have been observed, the additional emission from previously trapped light modes directly increases the device efficiency. It has been proven that the spectral emission of corrugated OLEDs is determined by the interference of all light modes inside the air light-cone, including the observation of destructive interference and anti-crossing phenomena. The formation of a coherently coupled mode pair of the initial radiative cavity mode and a Bragg scattered mode has been first observed, when grating structures with an aspect ratio > 0.2 are applied. There, the radiative cavity mode partially vanishes. The observation and analysis of such new emission phenomena in corrugated top-emitting OLEDs has been essential in obtaining a detailed insight on fundamental scattering processes as well as for the optimization and control of the spectral emission by light extraction structures. Second, the adverse impact of using only moderately transparent silver electrodes in white top-emitting OLEDs has been compensated improving the metal film morphology, as the organic materials often prevent a replacement by state-of-the-art electrodes, like Indium-tin-oxide (ITO). A high surface energy Au wetting layer, also in combination with MoO3, deposited underneath the Ag leads to smooth, homogeneous, and closed films. This allows to decrease the silver thickness from the state-of-the-art 15 nm to 3 nm, which has the advantage of increasing the transmittance significantly while maintaining a high conductivity. Thereby, a transmittance comparable to the ITO benchmark has been reached in the wavelength regime of the…