Ultrasonic spray coating is currently proven to be a reliable, flexible and cost efficient fabrication method for printed electronics [1-2]. Ultrasonic nozzles are by design especially well-suited to deposit nano-suspension dispersions. Due to the ultrasonic vibration of the nozzle, droplets having a median diameter of 20 μm are created in a homogeneous droplet cloud and directed towards the substrate. When one prepares an ink having the right wetting properties, thin and homogeneous layers, fully covering the surface, can be achieved. Together with conjugated polymer nanoparticles (NPs), emerging as a new class of nanomaterials,  it opens possibilities towards eco-friendly roll-to-roll processing of state-of-the-art organic bulk heterojunction solar cells.
A ultrasonic spray coater was used to print the conjugated polymer NP layers under different conditions. A first optimization of the spray coater settings (flow rate, spray speed and temperature) and the ink formulation (water and co-solvent mixture and NP content) was performed for polystyrene particles dissolved in a water-ethanol mixture. As a next step, the low bandgap donor polymer poly[9-(1-octylnonyl)-9H-carbazole-2,7-diyl]-2,5-thiophenediyl-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-4,7-diyl-2,5-thiophene-diyl] (PCDTBT)  and the fullerene acceptor phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) were combined in a water-based blend NP dispersion which was prepared using the mini-emulsion technique. [5,6] Optical Microscopy, profilometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) are performed to study the roughness, surface structure, thickness and coverage of the spray coated layers. Finally the printed NP layers are integrated in organic bulk heterojunction solar cells and compared to spin coated reference devices.
Pi-conjugated polymer light emitting devices have the potential to be the next generation of solid state lighting. In order to achieve this goal, a low cost, efficient and large area production process is essential. Polymer based light emitting devices are generally deposited using techniques based on solution processing e.g.: spin coating, ink jet printing. These techniques are not well suited for cost-effective, high throughput, large area mass production of these organic devices. Ultrasonic spray deposition however, is a deposition technique that is fast, efficient and roll to roll compatible which can be easily scaled up for the production of large area polymer light emitting devices (PLEDs). This deposition technique has already successfully been employed to produce organic photovoltaic devices (OPV)1. Recently the electron blocking layer PEDOT:PSS2 and metal top contact3 have been successfully spray coated as part of the organic photovoltaic device stack. In this study, the effects of ultrasonic spray deposition of polymer light emitting devices are investigated. For the first time – to our knowledge -, spray coating of the active layer in PLED is demonstrated. Different solvents are tested to achieve the best possible spray-able dispersion. The active layer morphology is characterized and optimized to produce uniform films with optimal thickness. Furthermore these ultrasonic spray coated films are incorporated in the polymer light emitting device stack to investigate the device characteristics and efficiency. Our results show that after careful optimization of the active layer, ultrasonic spray coating is prime candidate as deposition technique for mass production of PLEDs.