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Robust Transparent and Conductive Gas Diffusion Multibarrier Based on Mg- and Al-Doped ZnO as Indium Tin Oxide-Free Electrodes for Organic Electronics

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journal contribution
posted on 24.08.2018, 00:00 by Jeong Hyun Kwon, Yongmin Jeon, Kyung Cheol Choi
Thin-film encapsulation is strictly required to protect transparent, flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) based on plastic substrates with poor moisture barrier performances against water vapor and oxygen. However, additional encapsulation process makes OLED fabrication complex and expensive, resulting in lower yield and higher costs for the manufacture of OLEDs. Therefore, to develop simple, transparent conductive gas diffusion barrier (TCGDB) technologies by providing barrier performances to electrodes can be alternatives. Furthermore, TCGDB based on dielectric/metal/dielectric structures exhibit not only excellent barrier performances to protect metallic and organic layers against the ambient environment but also mechanical flexibility overcoming the brittleness of oxides. In this work, to improve the moisture-resistant, electrical, and optical properties of ZnO film, periodical dopant layers were inserted during the deposition of atomic layer deposition ZnO film. These dopant layers make the intrinsic ZnO film more optically and electrically functional. The dopant of MgO with a wide band gap enables blue-shifted optical transmittance, and the dopant of Al atoms makes doped ZnO more electrically conductive. In addition, these dopant layers in the ZnO film interrupt the film crystallization, making the film less crystalline with fewer channels and grain boundaries. This effect results in significant improvement of its GDB properties. With a functional and material design that takes full advantage of the synergetic combination of highly flexible conductive Ag and a moisture-resistant MAZO layer, the MAZO/Ag/MAZO (MAM) multilayer with a thickness of approximately 110 nm achieves a sheet resistance of 5.60 Ω/sq, an average transmittance of 89.72% in the visible range, and a water vapor transmission rate on the order of 10–5 g/m2/day. In addition, OLEDs with the MAM electrode demonstrated a great potential of indium tin oxide- and encapsulation-free organic electronics.