Atomic hydrogen induced defect kinetics in hydrogenated amorphous silicon : an in situ real time study

M.C.M. Sanden, van de, F.J.J. Peeters, J. Zheng, I.M.P. Aarts, A.C.R. Pipino, W.M.M. Kessels

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Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs, both small molecule and polymer LEDs) require excellent gas and moisture permeation barrier layers to increase their lifetime. The quality of the barrier layer is ultimately controlled by the presence of defects in the layer. Although a barrier layer may be intrinsically excellent (water vapor transmission rate, WVTR = 10-6 g·m-2·day-1) the protected device may fail in the presence of defects that lead to preferential diffusion pathways for H2O (e.g., defects caused by particles from the environment and/or production process). The state-of-the-art barrier coatings are micrometer-thick multi-layer structure, in which organic interlayers are alternated with inorganic barrier layers with the purpose of decoupling the above-mentioned defects. Recently, atomic layer deposition (ALD) has been successfully tested for the deposition of very thin (<50 nm) single layer permeation barriers on pristine polymer substrates [1,2], showing the potential of this highly uniform and conformal deposition technique in the field of moisture permeation barriers. In this contribution the encapsulation of OLEDs by plasma-assisted ALD of thin (20-40 nm) Al2O3 layers is addressed. The layers are synthesized at room temperature by sequentially exposing the substrate to Al(CH3)3 vapor and a remote inductively coupled O2 plasma in Oxford Instruments FlexALTM and OpALTM reactors. The intrinsic quality of the deposited ALD layers was determined by monitoring the oxidation of a Ca film encapsulated by the Al2O3 film: WVTR values as low as 2·10-6 g·m-2·day-1 have been measured. The potential of ALD layers in encapsulating OLEDs, and therefore in successfully covering the defects present on the device, has been investigated by means of electroluminescence measurements of polymer-LEDs (effective emitting area of 5.8 cm2). The black spot density and area growth were followed as a function of the time under standard conditions of 20°C and 50% relative humidity. Within a 500 h test ALD-encapsulated OLEDs show approximately half the black spot density compared to devices encapsulated by plasma deposited a-SiNx:H (300 nm thick). The black spot density is further reduced by combining the a-SiNx:H and ALD Al2O3 layers. These results point towards a very promising application of ALD Al2O3 layers in the field of OLED encapsulation and will be interpreted in terms of possible mechanisms related to film growth in multi-layer structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 56th international American Vacuum Society Symposium & Exhibition (AVS 56) 8-13 November 2009, San Jose, California
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Eventconference; Plasma Science and Technology : Plasma Processing for Photovoltaics -
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …


Conferenceconference; Plasma Science and Technology : Plasma Processing for Photovoltaics
Period1/01/09 → …
OtherPlasma Science and Technology : Plasma Processing for Photovoltaics


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