Industries & Applications
Organic optoelectronic devices, especially OLEDs, are extremely susceptibility to water vapor and oxygen which limit their lifetime and widespread commercialization. In order to extend the lifetime of devices, direct thin film encapsulation is the most promising encapsulation process. Thin film encapsulation (TFE) relies on very thin, dense inorganic layers that are deposited directly on top of the devices without exposing the devices to air. ALD is the ultimate TFE technique, as ALD films are very dense, highly conformal and uniform, and has the lowest defect density of all TFE techniques.
OLED micro displays are commonly manufactured using silicon wafer as the substrate. Si-wafer protects the devices from one side, but there is a need to be protect the top side against oxygen and water vapor. A conformal thin-film encapsulation maybe achieved though atomic layer deposition (ALD) through a purely inorganic barrier.
Flexible OLED displays are deposited on polymer films. Water and oxygen can penetrate through polymer substrates and encapsulation layers to form dark spots and edge shrinkage in OLEDs by oxidizing the as-deposited electrodes or corroding the functional organic layers, resulting in device degradation. For an inorganic layer to be flexible, it needs to be very thin. The thinner the layer, the smaller radius of curvature that can be used. This is where ALD offers great advantage compared to other methods. ALD TFE films can be order of magnitude thinner compared to PECVD films. Thus, ALD allows smaller bending radius to be used and more flexible devices to be manufactured.
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