Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs): Working Principles and Device Technology

  • Umberto GiovanellaEmail author
  • Mariacecilia Pasini
  • Chiara Botta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Chemistry book series (LNC, volume 92)


Organic electronics is a field of material science that has encountered a rapid advance over the last few decades and has now reached the commercial marketplace. Its most relevant example is represented by Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) technology, able to combine the device low energy consumption and low production costs with many additional appealing features, such as large emitting surfaces, transparency and flexibility, color-tunability and color-quality. These unique properties of OLEDs allow to design low cost, large area flexible displays and white lighting sources that can fit to many different environmental requirements, resulting in tremendous benefits in imaging, lighting, automotive, transportation, communication, agriculture and medicine.

This chapter provides an overview on the basic working principles of the devices with the analysis of the different kinds of emission mechanisms and the methods to improve quantum efficiency by optimization of the device architecture. The main classes of materials employed in OLED technology are presented focusing on few representative examples while the challenges to be faced by future research on material and device stability are discussed in view of commercialization applications. Some of the outstanding results recently obtained in white OLEDs (WOLEDs), able to produce a revolution in the next generation lighting industry, are also presented at the end of the chapter.


Microlens Array Delay Fluorescence Hole Transport Layer Triplet Exciton Correlate Colour Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Efficiency of photoluminescence


Colour temperature


Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage


Colour rendering index


Charge transfer


Delayed fluorescence


Electron affinity


Electron blocking layers


Electron injection layers




Emitting material layer


External quantum efficiency


Energy transfer


Triplet energy levels


Electron transport layers


Förster resonance ET


Hole blocking layers


Hole injection layers


Highest occupied molecular orbital


Hole transport layers


Internal conversion


Inter system crossing


Ionization potential


Internal quantum efficiency of electroluminescence


Indium tin oxide


Critical current density






Luminous or current efficiency


Lowest unoccupied molecular orbital


Molecular weight


Organic light emitting diode


Power efficiencies


Phosphorescent OLED




Polymer OLED


Reverse inter system crossing


Small molecule OLED


Thermally activated delayed fluorescence


Glass transition temperatures


Triplet–triplet annihilation


Applied voltage


White light organic emitting diode


Singlet-triplet energy splitting


Fraction of light coupled out of the structure into the viewing direction


Work function


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Umberto Giovanella
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mariacecilia Pasini
    • 1
  • Chiara Botta
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto per lo Studio delle Macromolecole (ISMAC), CNRMilanItaly

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