In this talk, we will discuss recent advances in the science and engineering of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). First, we will focus on materials in which light emission involves the process of thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF). In these materials, triplet excited states can convert into optically emissive singlet excited states by reverse intersystem crossing, allowing for nearly 100% internal quantum efficiency. This process can be used to design a new class of materials that are all organic, offering a lower cost alternative to conventional electrophosphorescent materials that contain heavy and expensive elements such as Pt and Ir. We will discuss molecular design strategies and present examples of materials that can be used as emitters or hosts in the emissive layer.
In a second part of this talk, we will review recent progress in fabricating OLEDs on shape memory polymer substrates (SMPs). SMPs are mechanically active, smart materials that can exhibit a significant drop in modulus once an external stimulus such as temperature is applied. In their rubbery state upon heating, the SMP can be easily deformed by external stresses into a temporary geometric configuration that can be retained even after the stress is removed by cooling the SMP to below the glass transition temperature. Reheating the SMP causes strain relaxation within the polymer network and induces recovery of its original shape. We will discuss how these unique mechanical properties can also be extended to a new class of OLEDs.