[Jeri Ellsworth] has put together a couple of videos that cover how she made her own organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs. In the first video, after the break, it discusses the difference between regular, rigid semiconductor LEDs and organic LEDs. The video then goes on to show how to make an OLED as successive layers of materials. Indium tin oxide (ITO) on glass forms a transparent anode. That is then coated with PEDOT:PSS, a conductive polymer mix that is used as a hole transport layer. Then a red diamond ruthenium complex is added to create the emissive layer. The cathode layer is a low work function metal, initially, gallium indium eutectic alloy then later other metals were shown to work. The second video, shows how to juice a glowstick and make OLEDs with the liquid. The dye in blue glowsticks, 9,10-Diphenylanthracene, is an organic semiconductor and will emit light as an electric current is passed through it. The glow stick method seems to have some problems as the ITO coated glass plate is degraded by the glowstick chemicals. It would be interesting to see if using the porous aluminum or similar technique from [Jeri]’s flexible electroluminescent displays could be used as an electrode.



43 thoughts on “DIY OLEDs

  1. Nice experiment and well documented. As for results I was a bit disappointed because the screen just looks dark with and without the power on the oled? Is the light not visible on camera or is the miniscule blue dot visible at 2:56 the oled? Also I was expecting a flashing light (555 timer…).

    Anyway, keep up the great work.

  2. Great links, horrible article.

    “In the first video, … it discusses…” should be changed (how about “The first video … discusses…”

    “The video then goes on to show how to make an OLED as successive layers of materials.” How about “…an OLED from successive layers…”

    “The second video, shows how to juice a glowstick…” the comma and double space should be replaced with just a single space.

  3. “guys, when your wife or girlfriend complains that you bought her an artificial diamond, just explain to her that cubic zirconium in some instances can have a 6.1 electron volt band gap, which is far superior to diamond.”

    Jeri, we love you.

  4. still, a fascinating article Jeri.
    A thought I did have to get around the problem of low light level is to obtain a cheap cmos camera and cool it down using a peltier stack to reduce the noise.

    another idea is to use a Gen 2 night vision module, you’d lose colour but at least it shows the glowing nicely.
    i have a gen 0 non intensified tube here which works well for converting IR to visible but no amplification.

  5. Man, Jeri just whupped me, calling us a bunch of player haters.

    Jeri, I can assure you, there are more fans of your work, than there are haters, the haters just get seen more. The fans are just nodding their heads and holding a lighter above.

    You have more links about you here than I think anyone else. You are loved, and we can’t reach the ones who are trolling so that we can slap them.

    Would you happen to be working on cloning anytime soon?

  6. after watching one of the recommended videos that popped up after the glowstick video(Samsung’s flexible AMOLED) I decided to try to make my Samsung’s AMOLED display something (like u use to do with a calculator’s LCD) Failing, i decided to try to take the metal frame off of the AMOLED. my Samsung AMOLED was not the flexible type. goodbye most vibrant display i have ever seen. Rest in Pieces.

  7. Not a comment relating to the actual hack or article.

    The spelling, grammar, and overall level of writing on this site are atrocious. What surprises me is that even though the authors are constantly made aware of their countless errors in the comments, little seems to be done about it.

    Hackaday is in desperate need of an editor, someone with an English degree or at least a solid grasp on the written language.

    This article and the two above it are rife with errors. The worst part is most of these errors are easily caught with a simple read through performed by someone unfamiliar with the text as the original writer may see what they thought they typed and not what was actually typed.

    If hackaday wishes to be taken as a serious media entity, and I assume you do as this is a business after all, cleaning up simple spelling and grammar errors would go a long way in portraying that image.

    I personally enjoy the site as a whole and read it nearly daily, the topics as of late have also greatly improved.

    Please, for the sake of your readership that DOES care about spelling, punctuation, grammar, and efficient written communication, put some serious thought into taking your writing to the next level.

    I’m not going to point out the errors as they are quite obvious and this post was not intended to demean or make fun of anyone.

    1. I used to think as you do. I speak or write to convey thoughts, and if the recipient can understand me, then why bother to learn or use any more of the language?

      I now see how important it is. You can convey information at a higher density with precise language. Instead of placing a small cognitive handicap on each reader or listener, they can more directly understand your intended message. Precise language shows that you respect your audience.

      On a place like the comments section of a website, you can only be judged by the content of your message, and the way you say it. If I feel my content is important enough to share, I don’t ever want to have it dismissed on the base of poor grammar.

  8. if you can’t take the time to write correctly, how can you expect someone to take you seriously?

    it’s something we all learn when we’re young. it usually takes a hard burn or too.

    for example: “this new msdn stuff is retarted.” reply: “yea, like your spelling.”

    Sweet LED. could hardly see it in the video..

  9. Feel the love Jeri. Just keep on doing what you do.
    Seems some are on serotonin withdrawl after the
    T’day turkey binge and need another fix.
    It’s easy to dump on the grammar if you didn’t do
    the hack.

  10. nicely documente i no now a litelbit more about oled,s i think its cool that a smart girl make this information movies it is usly a man that make this thare must be more smart prity girls on hack a day

  11. Nice presentation and explanation of the theory. Does make me wish I had paid more attention in microelectronics class. One of the researchers in my old dept supposedly invented green Gan LEDs back in the day but the lab we was working for couldn’t see the commercial potential so didn’t pursue it.

    Is that a still-boxed DTV on the shelf next to the game-and-watches and the NES controllers? Hard to tell from the video.

  12. @Caleb Kraft
    “The automatic negativity here can be quite daunting at times. I really don’t understand it.”
    It’s fairly easy to explain. You’ve got a group of wannabe hackers who visit this site who would rather boost their ego by criticising other people’s projects than do their own projects. The sort of people who think they’re l33t just because they run Linux, and haven’t done anything more taxing with hardware than wiring a plug.

    I used to pretend to be a hacker when I was in school (Windows security at my school was a joke, so it was hardly taxing), I grew out of this pretense. Now all I want to do is learn. I’m not saying that these two things are necessarily diametrically opposed, but I do think you’ll find most true hackers are fairly open minded, use that thought to tune your b*llshit meter next time you’re reading some of the negative HaD comments.

    @Jeri Ellsworth
    Nice job. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  13. @Jeditalian, yes, why did you go after your probably quite expensive television? I am not going to go as far as to call you stupid, but I am questioning your motives.

    @The grammar Nazis, I am a fellow grammar Nazi, and this site is a site that you have to take on it’s technical merits. If you find that the merits are not up to your standards, you move on, if they are, you just have to take the mistakes as they are, mistakes. They are not trying to sell you anything. What do you want for nothing? Rubber biscuits? You are going to have to do what I do, and wince, and then go on to the next sentence.

  14. Ahhh, but they are selling something as any other media outlet does. Ad space.

    I don’t understand why the idea of raising the level of the writing in the articles is met with such hostility.

    All it would take in most cases is a simple read through before posting.

  15. IDK maybe it is like when I showed my cousin Jeri’s earlier stuff. I was thinking, “Wow! that is so cool. I wish I had friends like her who actually hack instead of sit in the basement and play WOW and just talk about hacking when their fingers get tired.” and my cousin who has an engineering degree reacted with “that’s scary” IMHO he felt threatened because he spent all that time in college and here is a young woman who can do more with an easy bake oven and a soldering iron than he can with an entire lab. Just a thought. UR an inspiration.

  16. Sadly, I was expelled from the American equivalent of the Grammar Nazis (The Conjugation Corps) for refusing to let go of the word “ain’t”.

    It was all great fun, and since we only had to know how to conjugate (…), how to keep our tenses straight and be able to master singular vs. plural distinctions and counting vs. non-counting nouns.

    Since we were Americans, we didn’t have to bother with spelling and possessives, and no one cared at all about using apostrophes or even most points of punctuation or abbreviation properly.

    It all went to hell when we decided to allow an ancient art of rhetoric teacher take over as CIC, and since she felt herself to be the one true arbiter of English as it ought to be written, she made quite a few waves.

    The joke was on them – shortly after I was expelled, she changed the Conjugation Corps’ motto from “Close enough for the likes of you” to the ominous sounding “Arbiter macht frei” and tried to purge all the words without latin roots or german tails from our training manuals.

  17. @caleb and Zeno Arrow

    I’m against hatin’ but the people who emerge from beneath the depths of criticism are the gems – those who wither probably lack the ability to overcome, which is bad for researchers and hackers no matter how you slice it.

    Initially, I wasn’t impressed by JE, but she’s in it for the long haul and doing actual empirical science to kill time. Good on her.

    Wish she was more interested in biology, because that’s where the hacker action is now.

    We’ve lost a generation of really bright and somewhat-out-there biochemists in the last decade (all by unusual circumstance, oddly enough), and someone needs to take up the slack. A lot of interesting research topics seem to have vanished from the literature into thin air, and none of them really required a phd or a big budget lab to explore.

    We don’t need more hackers – there are lots of hackers in the world. We really need more mad scientists. Mad scientists THRIVE in criticism.

  18. Too bad my joke wasnt good. it was taken out….
    Very cool stuff, specially the carefullness with the glowing liquid,,,, :)

    Loved the video. Hope people would get out of letargic state and do something

    Keep up the good work :)

  19. @alan turing’s dog
    “I’m against hatin’ but the people who emerge from beneath the depths of criticism are the gems – those who wither probably lack the ability to overcome, which is bad for researchers and hackers no matter how you slice it.”

    Yes, the truly great can rise above the negativity, but what about those on their way to greatness. How many potentially great minds have been lost due to unwarranted criticism being repeatedly thrown in their face.

    Think back to your school days and how much potential you had, which could have happened if you were lucky to have been given the right direction. Some people are their own guides, but we all benefit from encouragement and ‘constructive’ criticism. Constructive being the operative word, which is not what haters provide.

  20. haha @diyer

    Wonder if its possible to make the diphenylanthracene OLED any brighter?
    it occurs to me that most of the losses are due to it being in a liquid phase, so washing it with a solvent to obtain pure DPA and then spin coating onto a substrate and GENTLY drying (OLEDs hate heat like you wouldn’t believe) then coating on an appropriate back coating should work.
    a little tip, dry it out in a vacuum chamber, applying the back coating and then encapsulating while under inert dry nitrogen should ensure a reliable OLED display.

  21. Idea *2. Another product such as Flash One for All Crisp Lemons fluoresces brightly under UV light so may or may not be suitable.

    Only one way to find out :-)

    Also to make the ITO last longer try putting a thin carbon coating on it as seen in the DIY TiO2 solar cell demonstration videos.

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