TADFsolutions: Addressing the challenges of high-performance solution-processed OLEDs using sustainable materials

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

In the 21st century, displays play a central role. They are embedded in almost every type of electronic device and it is difficult to imagine a world without mobile phones, monitors and televisions. Driving the pervasiveness of displays is the
disruptive organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. There are, however, some structural weaknesses in state-of-theart vacuum-deposited OLEDs. These include the use of scarce metals within the materials of the device and the reliance on energy-intensive and expensive vacuum deposition fabrication methods. Solutions are required to make these devices more sustainable from choice of materials to manufacturing processes. The European Doctoral Training Network TADFsolutions will train a cohort of dynamic researchers to devise, develop and implement sustainable solutions for improving the device performance of solution-processed OLEDs. The 10 PhD scientists will undertake multidisciplinary research to meet this design challenge. Despite being cheaper, the current best solution-processed OLEDs (SP-OLEDs) still rely on scarce noble-metal-based phosphorescent emitters and underperform compared to vacuum-deposited OLEDs.
Starting from bespoke organic thermally activated delayed fluorescence emitter materials, the performance of SP-OLEDs will be maximized based on improved predictive models of charge transport, film processing techniques, and device
structures. A strongly interconnected approach is required not only to effectively train the DFs but to meet the objectives. The TADFsolutions network consists of 8 leading European academics, 3 companies, and 5 international partners that are equipped and experienced to not only confront the materials and device design challenges but to provide a robust multidisciplinary and intersectoral training environment to ensure that the DFs have the requisite skills, both soft and technical, to enter the employment market and contribute to securing Europe's leading role in OLED materials.

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