Dramatic improvements in white organic light emitting diode (OLED) performance and lifetime over the past decade are driving commercialization of this technology for solid-state lighting applications. As white OLEDs attempt to gain a foothold in the market, however, the biggest challenge outside of lowering their manufacturing cost arguably now lies in creating an architecturally adaptable form factor that will drive public adoption and differentiate OLED lighting from established LED products. Here, we present concepts based on kirigami (the Japanese art of paper cutting and folding) that enable intricate three-dimensional (3D) OLED lighting structures from two dimensional layouts. Using an ultraflexible, encapsulated OLED device architecture on 25 ~ 60 μm thick clear polyimide film substrate with simple cut and fold patterns, we demonstrate a series of different lighting concepts ranging from a simple ‘pop up’ structure to more complex designs such as stretchable window blind-like panel, candle flame, and multi-element globe lamp. We only find slight degradation in OLED electrical performance when these designs are shaped into 3D. Our results point to an alternate paradigm for OLED lighting that moves beyond traditional 2D panels toward 3D designs that deliver unique and creative new opportunities for lighting.
Reliability remains an ongoing challenge for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) as they expand in the marketplace. The ability to withstand operation and storage at elevated temperature is particularly important in this context, not only because of the inverse dependence of OLED lifetime on temperature, but also because high thermal stability is fundamentally important for high power/brightness operation as well as applications such as automotive lighting, where interior car temperatures often exceed the ambient by 50 °C or more. Here, we present a strategy to significantly increase the thermal stability of small molecule OLEDs by co-depositing an amorphous fluoropolymer, Teflon AF, to prevent catastrophic failure at elevated temperatures. Using this approach, we demonstrate that the thermal breakdown limit of common hole transport materials can be increased from typical temperatures of ∼100 °C to more than 200 °C while simultaneously improving their electrical transport properties. Similar thermal stability enhancements are demonstrated in simple bilayer OLEDs. These results point toward a general approach to engineer morphologically-stable organic electronic devices that are capable of operating or being stored in extreme thermal environments.