Efficient vacuum-free-processed quantum dot light-emitting diodes with printable liquid metal cathodes†
Colloidal quantum dot light-emitting diodes (QLEDs) are recognized as promising candidates for next generation displays. QLEDs can be fabricated by low-cost solution processing except for the metal electrodes, which, in general, are deposited by costly vacuum evaporation. To be fully compatible with the low-cost solution process, we herein demonstrate vacuum-free and solvent-free fabrication of electrodes using a printable liquid metal. With eutectic gallium–indium (EGaIn) based liquid metal cathodes, vacuum-free-processed QLEDs are demonstrated with superior external quantum efficiencies of 11.51%, 12.85% and 5.03% for red, green and blue devices, respectively, which are about 2-, 1.5- and 1.1-fold higher than those of the devices with thermally evaporated Al cathodes. The improved performance is attributable to the reduction of electron injection by the native oxide of EGaIn, which serves as an electron-blocking layer for the devices and thus improves the balance of carrier injection. Also, the T50 half-lifetime of the vacuum-free-processed QLEDs is about 2-fold longer than that of the devices with Al cathodes. Our results demonstrate that EGaIn-based solvent-free liquid metals are promising printable electrodes for realizing efficient, low-cost and vacuum-free-processed QLEDs. The elimination of vacuum and high-temperature processes significantly reduces the production cost and paves the way for industrial roll-to-roll manufacturing of large area displays.