UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009 Page: 17
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Technology - a $15 million federal
funded facility with high-powered micro-
scopes and other materials characterization
tools - for some of the production work.
Specifically, they use a custom-
designed, computer-controlled thermal
evaporator, in which the organic molecules
are gently heated and condensed into thin
films. The films then fiuse to a base, which
is often made of plastic.
While the UNT team is focused
primarily on white lights - those used
for standard room lighting - the tech-
nology has applications in display lighting.
such as television and computer screens,
cell phones and alarm clocks. The biggest
advantage of OLEDs is that, unlike liquid
crystal display (LCD) televisions, they
do not require a backlight to function.
Removing that backlight would allow
manufacturers to make televisions thinner
than ever before.
Sony already has introduced a super-
thin, high-priced television based on the
technology that drew rave reviews for its
UNT is only halfway finished with
the three-year DOE contract, but the
research group already has surpassed its
goals for the first two years and now is
working on third-year objectives.
"Our team, with the hard work of
the students, has made a great deal of
progress. There are, of course, still many)
technical problems we're working through,"
Shepherd says. "But OLEDs show a lot of
promise to replace incandescent and fluo-
( ) I \\' 1 I I I I (,1 1
The most significant questions have
been how to achieve white light and extend
the lifetime so OLEDs are competitive
with fluorescent lamps. Most OLEDs com-
bine red, green and blue emitters to create
white light. That's problematic, however,
because emitters age at different rates,
Omary says. If the blue emitter fails first,
which usually occurs, the lamp may give
off a yellow light.
UNT's approach? Simplify the struc-
ture by creating one material that can pro-
duce white light on its own. This has been
a major challenge in OLED technology.
The latest breakthrough by UNT
demonstrated its potential, with a mate-
rial made by Joyce Chen and Chi Yang
in Omary's group, and devices made
by Minghang Li and Ming-Te Lin in
Shepherd's group. Work to improve
the efficiency and color of the material
continues, but Chaddock, with the DOE,
says UNT's data suggest promise for a
Chen, a graduate student in chemis-
Nigel Shepherd's group in materials
science and engineering, including
doctoral candidate Minghang Li, right,
designs the new light-emitting devices.
try, says the research has been fascinating
because they are addressing a real and seri-
"Often, chemists just focus on the
chemistry and nothing else," Chen says.
"But we're looking at real-life applications
and ways these materials can save energy."
That, Omary says, is the end goal.
"We know we are in a global energy
crisis," Omary says. "Getting rid of old
light bulbs and adopting alternative sources
of light is one of the most significant ways
we can reduce our energy consumption." A
UNr RESEARCH SPRING Z00OO "At
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009, periodical, 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115032/m1/17/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.