An advanced optical thin-film coating that allows organic LEDs on plastic to be as efficient as those made on rigid glass unlocks the potential of OLEDs and leads the way toward flexible, lighter, less expensive and impact-resistant displays.
Flexible plastic serves as home to new, highly efficient organic LEDs.
The developers, researchers in the University of Toronto’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering, believe that their OLED on plastic device is comparable to the best glass-based OLEDs.
“For years, the biggest excitement behind OLED technologies has been the potential to effectively produce them on flexible plastic,” said professor Zheng-Hong Lu, who supervised the project, which was led by doctoral candidates Zhibin Wang and Michael D. Helander.
OLEDs provide high-contrast, low-energy displays for advanced electronic screens and are used in some cell phone and other smaller-scale applications. Currently, they are produced using heavy-metal doped glass to achieve high efficiency and brightness, making them expensive to manufacture as well as heavy, rigid and fragile.
The scientists reconstructed the high-refractive index property previously limited to heavy metal-doped glass by using a 50- to 100-nm-thick layer of tantalum oxide, an advanced optical thin-film coating material.
They reported their work online in Nature Photonics.