Catastrophic failure due to electrical shorting is currently one of the key reliability challenges for commercial organic light emitting diode (OLED) solid-state lighting panels. Here, we explore the origin of panel-killing shorts through the use of a temperature-selective electroluminescence imaging technique that allows us to locate them early in their life cycle and study their growth over time. We identify two general classes of panel defect, termed bright spots and hot spots, which respectively originate from indium-tin-oxide agglomerations and microscale organic semiconductor dust particles on the substrate. The former are largely benign, whereas the latter can lead to local shunts that grow over time and cause catastrophic failure. We understand the growth process as a self-reinforcing cycle, where shunt-induced heating volatilizes the surrounding organic semiconductor, which in turn expands the shunt and leads to even more heating. Based on these results, we identify several practical strategies to arrest the growth of early-stage shorts or prevent them entirely, which could reduce the cost and improve the reliability of OLED lighting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)