OLEDs were sold to us as being cheaper and better than traditional LEDs, but they hit a bottleneck on the way to market: the high price of production. Partly the big price tag was due to indium tin oxide, which is used as an electrode in these energy-saving lights – and which is added to them via a painstaking, expensive process. A new method could simplify that process, producing OLEDs in a way that “faster, easier and cheaper”.
The secret ingredient? Chlorine.
The indium tin oxide is zapped with UV light in the presence of chlorinated cleaning solution, which fragments. These rogue bits of chlorine then attach to the indium tin oxide in a single-atom thick layer, replacing the previously-required three extra levels of materials. This reduces the number of organic layers on the OLED from 5-6 down to 2-3. Fewer layers means lower costs, faster manufacturing, and brighter OLEDs. Plus, better gadgets for us.
Republished from io9