In groundbreaking research published in Nature Materials, a team of researchers from Northumbria University, Cambridge University, Imperial University and Loughborough University has developed a new approach to producing blue light in OLED displays. This innovation could make the screens of smartphones, televisions, and other devices more energy efficient and extend their lifespans.

The key to this breakthrough lies in the design of new light-emitting molecules that address the notorious “blue OLED problem.” Blue-emitting subpixels in OLED displays are the least stable and consume the most energy, often leading to screen burn-in and shortened device life.

This figure shows three different matrix-free material combinations of OLED systems as System A, System B, and System C. a) The table shows the specific material combinations used in each of the three systems. b) The graph shows the electroluminescence (EL) spectrum of system A, and a photograph of his OLED emission from this system is shown in the inset. c) The graph shows the EL spectrum of system B. The inset shows the single-crystal X-ray diffraction (XRD) structure of the material En-Per used in system B. d) The graph shows the EL spectrum of system B. System C. A photograph of OLED emission from this system is shown in the inset. (Source: Natural Materials)

The researchers' new molecule features a shield that blocks destructive energy pathways and controls molecular interactions. By simplifying the blue pixel's emissive layer to just two components, the team was able to potentially reduce manufacturing costs while maintaining high efficiency.

Dr Mark Etherington, Assistant Professor at Northumbria University, led the spectroscopic analysis of the triplet energies of molecules, providing important insights into their energy transfer processes. His findings helped the team form a complete picture of the energy level arrangement and informed the design and use of materials in his future OLEDs.

Co-corresponding author Dr Daniel Congrave from the University of Cambridge, who led the materials design and synthesis research with Professor Hugo Bronstein, emphasized the importance of this discovery. “The molecule described in this paper is one of the blue molecules with the narrowest emission range, resulting in high color purity, making it very useful for screens,” he says.

With manufacturers and consumers alike working towards net-zero goals, this breakthrough in blue OLED technology could have a major impact on the energy consumption of devices in the information age. Although it may take some time for this innovation to reach consumer electronics, it is a promising step toward more efficient and sustainable displays.


Cho, H.-H., Congrave, DG, Gillett, AJ, Montanaro, S., Francis, HE, Riesgo-Gonzalez, V., Ye, J., Chowdury, R., Zeng, W., Etherington, M.K. , Royackers, J., Millington, O., Bond, A.D., Prasser, F., Frost, J.M., Gray, C.P., Rao, A., Friend, R.H., Greenham, N.C., and Bronstein, H. ( 2024). Suppression of Dexter transition by covalent encapsulation for efficient matrix-free narrowband deep blue superfluorescent OLEDs. Natural materials, 1-8.

Source link