Dramatic improvement in the efficiency of inorganic and organic light emitting diodes (LEDs and OLEDs) within the last decade has made these devices viable future energy efficient replacements for current light sources. However, both technologies must overcome major technical barriers, requiring significant advances in material science, before this goal can be achieved. Attention will be given to each technology associated with the following major areas of material research: 1) material synthesis, 2) process development, 3) device and defect physics, and 4) packaging.
The discussion on material synthesis will emphasize the need for further development of component materials, including substrates and electrodes, necessary for improving device performance. The process technology associated with the LEDs and OLEDs is very different, but in both cases it is one factor limiting device performance. Improvements in process control and methodology are expected to lead to additional benefits of higher yield, greater reliability and lower costs. Since reliability and performance are critical to these devices, an understanding of the basic physics of the devices and device failure mechanisms is necessary to effectively improve the product. The discussion will highlight some of the more basic material science problems remaining to be solved. In addition, consideration will be given to packaging technology and the need for the development of novel materials and geometries to increase the efficiencies and reliability of the devices. The discussion will emphasize the performance criteria necessary to meet lighting applications, in order to illustrate the gap between current status and market expectations for future product.