Degradation Mechanism of Small Molecule-Based Organic Light-Emitting Devices

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Science  19 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5409, pp. 1900-1902
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5409.1900

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Studies on the long-term degradation of organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs) based on tris(8-hydroxyquinoline) aluminum (AlQ3), the most widely used electroluminescent molecule, reveal that injection of holes in AlQ3 is the main cause of device degradation. The transport of holes into AlQ3 caused a decrease in its fluorescence quantum efficiency, thus showing that cationic AlQ3 species are unstable and that their degradation products are fluorescence quenchers. These findings explain the success of different approaches to stabilizing OLEDs, such as doping of the hole transport layer, introducing a buffer layer at the hole-injecting contact, and using mixed emitting layers of hole and electron transporting molecules.

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