Thermally cross-linkable materials for multi-layered devices


Many organic or polymeric optic, electronic and optoelectronic devices, such as LEDs, FETs, and solar cells require high-quality organic multi-layered configurations to optimize their performance. However, manufacturing of these multi-layered structures is often difficult with existing methodologies.

Furthermore, it has been found that certain multi-layered structures can impact the stability of the manufactured devices, which can be detrimental for their long-term performance. The technology presented here includes novel cross-linkable composites of boronic acid or boronic acid derivatives and an organic light-emitting, electron or hole transporting functional group. Novel methods for producing such composites are included as well as multi-layered materials and optoelectronic devices containing these materials. Presented composites and methodologies for making them will lower the cost of manufacturing optoelectronic devices, increase versatility of the produced devices and significantly improve their performance.

Technology transfer

This technology is available for licensing, or for further development through a collaborative research agreement with NRC. The business opportunity may be referred to by its NRC ID: 11439.

Market applications

This technology is of particular interest to OLED manufacturers, small manufacturers and printable electronics manufacturers.

How it works

Many organic or polymeric optic, electronic and optoelctronic devices, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), field-effect transistors (FETs), solar cells or optical waveguides require high-quality organic multi-layered configurations to optimise their performance.

In the fabrication of organic or polymeric light-emitting devices, it is advantageous to incorporate multi-layered structured materials with special functions into different locations within the device. Solvent-based or wet-processing techniques such as reel-to-reel printing, screen-printing or spin-coating are currently used fabrication techniques for organic/polymer devices. However, the fabrication of multi-layer device structure is often difficult with wet-processing techniques. One typical problem of making multi-layered structures using solutions is the fact that the solvent used for each successive layer can lead to swelling or dissolution of underlying layers. In addition, some polymers used in a solution- based method can aggregate and cause poor optical stability in the fabricated devices. Vacuum deposition is also used for making multi-layered device structures, however, it is limited to low molecular weight organic materials and the production costs are higher than with solvent-based techniques. In addition, crystallization of the organic thin films may occur upon heating or operation, which could cause device failure.

Innovative technology presented here includes novel cross-linkable composites of boronic acid or a boronic acid derivative, and an organic hole or electron-transporting or light-emitting functional group. A methodology is presented for making such cross-linked composites with hole or electron transporting and light-emitting functionality. Furthermore, the technology includes a method for making a multi-layer material comprising of multiple layers of a described cross-linked composites with different functionalities. A multi-layer optoelectronic device, is also included, comprising in sequence, of a transparent substrate layer, a transparent electrode layer, a layer of a cross-linked composite and at least another such layer with different functionality. Finally, the technology includes a method for forming cross-linkable functional material intermediates that can readily be cross-linked to form multiple functional layers.

Organoboronic acids undergo dehydration in vacuum and/or under heating conditions and the use of organoboronic acids can lead to formation of cross-linked networks. Applying dehydration of boronic acids to fabricate multi-layer thin films has several advantages. Composites are processed in very mild conditions at lower temperatures, decreasing production costs. Cross linking does not involve any highly-reactive radicals and does not leave any harmful residues in the materials. Each functional layer is cross linked before applying the next layer, removing the limitation of only several functional layers achievable by current production techniques. The techniques presented produce uniform optical and electronic properties, minimizing the defects in the devices. The functions of each layer are easily tunable, increasing the versatility of resulting devices.

Presented compounds, multi-layer materials and associated manufacturing technologies show potential significantly-reduced manufacturing cost, add functionality, and improve the performance of various electronic components such as LEDs, and other electronic and optoelectronic devices.


Presented technologies have a potential to significantly reduce manufacturing cost, add functionality, increase versatility and improve performance of various electronic components such as LEDs, and other electronic and optoelectronic devices.


NRC file 11439:

Patent granted in US and Canada.


Mohammad Salahuddin, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-291-3989
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Express Licensing

NRC makes research & development licenses for this technology available under its Express Licensing program. To purchase such a license, please complete the Express Licensing order form.

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