Self-Assembled, Fixed Heterojunctions in Organic Semiconducting Polymers

Introduction Polymer light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) are experiencing increasing scientific and industrial interest as solid-state sources of luminescence, thanks to their good electroluminescence efficiency, low driving voltages and ease of fabrication. While LECs as initially proposed are promising for low-cost display applications, a practical light-emitting device would feature a fixed, rather than dynamic, junction. This would allow for instantaneous light emission upon application of an external bias once an initial, one-time charging step has been performed. Additionally, the fixed heterojunctions lead to improved lifetime characteristics and stable efficiency at higher operating potentials. Therefore, a methodology for the creation of a fixed p-i-n junction in a polymer device will have a significant impact on the field of organic electronics. Technology description Glenn Bartholomew’s laboratory has created a process to create thermally stable fixed p-i-n junctions in commercially available semiconducting polymers. Unlike previously demonstrated LECs, these devices demonstrate junctions that are stable in both forward and reverse bias at room temperature, exhibit unipolar emission, and give rise to a significant photovoltaic effect. Business Opportunity Organic electronic materials and devices will be a multibillion dollar market in the next decade. The greatly simplified fabrication and ease with which homojunctions can be self-assembled using this method makes a wide range of photonic and electronic devices that utilize homojunctions not only possible, but cost-effective as well. Such devices could provide a wide range of functions for organic electronics such as rectification, amplification, switching, capacitance, and photovoltaic response. Intellectual Property Position The UW has a US patent pending on this technology. Related Publication Leger LM et al, Self-Assembled, Chemically Fixed Homojunctions in Semiconducting Polymers, Advanced Materials. 2006 November; 18(23):3130-3134.

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