Influence of a partially oxidized calcium cathode on the performance of polymeric light emitting diodes

G.G. Andersson, M.P. de Jong, F.J.J. Janssen, J.M. Sturm, L.J. van IJzendoorn*, A.W. Denier van der Gon, M.J.A. de Voigt, H.H. Brongersma

*Corresponding author for this work

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We investigated the influence of the presence of oxygen during the deposition of the calcium cathode on the structure and on the performance of polymeric light emitting diodes (pLEDs). The oxygen background pressure during deposition of the calcium cathode of polymeric LEDs was varied. Subsequently, the oxygen depth distribution was measured and correlated with the performance of the pLEDs. The devices have been fabricated in a recently built ultraclean setup. The polymer layers of the pLEDs have been spincoated in a dry nitrogen atmosphere and transported directly into an ultrahigh vacuum chamber where the metal electrodes have been deposited by evaporation. We used indium-tin-oxide as anode, OC1C10 PPV as electroluminescent polymer, calcium as cathode, and aluminum as protecting layer. We achieved reproducibility of about 15% in current and brightness for devices fabricated in an oxygen atmosphere of ≪10-9 mbar. For further investigations the calcium deposition was carried out in an oxygen atmosphere from 10-8 to 10-5 mbar. We determined the amount of oxygen in the different layers of the current-voltage-light characterized pLEDs with elastic recoil detection analysis and correlated it with the characteristics of the devices. The external efficiency of the pLEDs decreases continuously with increasing oxygen pressure, the current shows a pronounced minimum. The brightness mostly decreases with increasing oxygen with an indication of a slight minimum. PLEDs with completely oxidized calcium are not operational. The first contact of the pLEDs with the dry glove box environment leads to an immediate reduction of current and brightness which is caused by the cooling of the devices by several degrees. Determining reproducible characteristics of pLEDs in the vacuum requires the measurement of their temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1382
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes


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