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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Highly flexible top-emitting phosphorescent organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) Wang, Yan


Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) have become attractive for flat panel display industry, with applications ranging from mobile phone screens to TVs. They have several advantages over inorganic LEDs such as high contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, faster response time, scalable large area processing and most importantly mechanical flexibility. OLEDs on flexible substrates can endure certain level of mechanical deformation such as bending, rolling or folding without disruption of the performance. The current demonstrated flexibility for OLEDs is up to a few centimeters or millimeters bending radius, depending on the materials, substrates and device structures. More flexible OLEDs with bending radius of curvature on the order of microns will be needed for applications in wearable, roll-up, or foldable displays and bezel-free screens and flexible signage systems. This thesis presents the design, fabrication and characterization of highly flexible and foldable top-emitting OLEDs made on 50 micron thick polyimide (PI) plastic substrates, which can achieve approximately 200 microns bending radius of curvature (folding) without visible damage or impact on emission brightness and uniformity. To the best of our knowledge these are the most flexible phosphorescent OLEDs and first foldable OLEDs ever reported. We believe such flexibility is the benefit of the mechanical stability and low film thickness of the PI substrate. The surface roughness of PI had been the major limitation of its application as OLED substrates, and in this thesis a special side-angle evaporation method is proposed to improve the step coverage of deposited thin films of materials on PI without the requirement of buffer layers. The same method is also proved to be applicable for fabricating OLEDs on much rougher substrates such as Scotch tapes, and fiberglass and transparency sheets. The OLEDs fabricated on above substrates are also presented and characterized.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada