US 20100270545 A1
A voltage switchable dielectric material (VSD) material as part of a light-emitting component, including LEDs and OLEDs.
1. A light-emitting device comprising:
a component that emits light by carrying current between at least a first terminal and a second terminal;
an organic polymer composition, structured to have a characteristic of being (i) dielectric in absence of a voltage that exceeds a characteristic voltage level of the VSD material, and (ii) conductive with application of the voltage exceeding the characteristic voltage level;
wherein the composition is positioned, relative to the component that emits light, to provide grounding for the component against any transient voltage that exceeds the characteristic voltage level of the composition.
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10. A light-emitting device comprising:
a semiconductor component configured to emit light when a current is applied to the component;
a composition of organic polymer coupled to the semiconductor component, wherein the composition is structured to have a characteristic of being (i) dielectric in absence of a voltage that exceeds a characteristic voltage level of the VSD material, and (ii) conductive with application of the voltage exceeding the characteristic voltage level;
wherein the composition is positioned to direct current away from the semiconductor when in the VSD material is conductive.
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18. A light-emitting device comprising:
a stack comprising a plurality of layers, the plurality of layers including an organic emitter layer;
a voltage switchable material (VSD) formed from an organic polymer composition coupled to the stack, wherein the VSD material is positioned to have a characteristic of being (i) dielectric in absence of a voltage that exceeds a characteristic voltage level of the VSD material, and (ii) conductive with application of the voltage exceeding the characteristic voltage level;
wherein the VSD material is positioned to direct current away from the stack when in the VSD material is conductive.
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This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/562,289, filed Nov. 21, 2006, entitled “Light-Emitting Device Using Voltage Switchable Dielectric Material”; which claims benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/740,961, filed Nov. 30, 2005, entitled “Light Emitting Devices With ESD Characteristics,” and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/739,725, filed Nov. 22, 2005, entitled “RFID Tag Using Voltage Switchable Dielectric Material,”; the aforementioned applications being hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
The disclosed embodiments relate generally to the field of light-emitting devices. More specifically, embodiments described herein include a light-emitting device that integrates or incorporates voltage switchable dielectric material.
Traditional lighting mechanisms, such as incandescent light-bulbs, are being replaced with more efficient and powerful lighting mechanisms, such as LEDs and OLEDs. While newer lighting mechanisms offer many advantages, they are also more expensive, difficult to make, and often incorporate use of exotic materials. Furthermore, while such new devices may have relatively longer life-spans than more traditional lighting mechanisms, LEDs and OLEDs can fail when exposed to transient electrical conditions. In particular, both organic and inorganic light emitting devices, including the semiconductor chips and polymers used in these devices, are highly susceptible to Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) and other voltage transients such as electrical over-stress (EOS) and electromagnetic pulses (EMP). These devises are historically protected with zener diodes or discrete solid state or polymer surge suppressors.
Embodiments described herein provide for the use of a voltage switchable dielectric material (VSD) material as part of a light-emitting component, including LEDs and OLEDs. VSD material may be provided as part of the packaging, or integrated or combined with electrical components and elements of such light-emitting device. As provided with one or more embodiments, the integration of VSD material protects the light-emitting device from voltage transients such as electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrical overstress (EOS), as well as moisture, impact and other electrical or mechanical threats.
Embodiments also include an apparatus design and technique for safeguarding lighting mechanisms (including LEDs and OLEDs) against ESD events. In particular, one or more embodiments provide for use of VSD material to shield an LED or OLED against ESD events.
Examples of light-emitting devices that are applicable to embodiments described herein include LEDs, OLEDs, or even lighting mechanisms that burn filaments.
As used herein, “voltage switchable material” or “VSD material” is any composition, or combination of compositions, that has a characteristic of being dielectric or non-conductive, unless a voltage is applied to the material that exceeds a characteristic voltage level of the material, in which case the material becomes conductive. Thus, VSD material is a dielectric unless voltage exceeding the characteristic level (e.g. such as provided by ESD events) is applied to the material, in which case the VSD material is conductive. VSD material can also be characterized as any material that can be characterized as a nonlinear resistance material.
Various kinds of VSDM exist. Examples of voltage switchable dielectric materials are provided in references such as U.S. Pat. No. 4,977,357, U.S. Pat. No. 5,068,634, U.S. Pat. No. 5,099,380, U.S. Pat. No. 5,142,263, U.S. Pat. No. 5,189,387, U.S. Pat. No. 5,248,517, U.S. Pat. No. 5,807,509, WO 96/02924, and WO 97/26665. In one implementation, the VSDM material may correspond to material manufactured under the trade name of “SURGX”.
One or more embodiments provide for use of VSD material that includes 30 to 80% insulator, 0.1% to 70% conductor, and 0% to 70% semiconductor. Examples of insulative materials include but not limited to silicone polymers, epoxy, polyimide, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyphenylene oxide, polysulphone, solgel materials, creamers, silicone dioxide, aluminum oxide, zirconia oxide, and other metal oxide insulators. Examples of conductive materials include metals such as copper, aluminum, nickel, and stainless steel. Examples of semiconductive material include both organic and inorganic semiconductors. Some inorganic semiconductors include silicon, silicon carbide, boron nitride, aluminum nitride, nickel oxide, zinc oxide, and zinc sulfide. Examples of organic semiconductors include poly-3-hexylthiophene, pentacene, perylene, carbon nanotubes, and C60 fullerenes. The specific formulation and composition may be selected for mechanical and electrical properties that best suit the particular application of the VSD material.
Additionally, one or more embodiments incorporate VSD material onto an underlying substrate or board on which a light-emitting device is provided. The VSD material may also be applied onto a substrate that is subsequently used to form some or all of the remaining device. Ion deposition processes, such as electroplating, may be used to form conductive elements on the substrate while the VSD material is in a conductive state. The positioning and configuration of the conductive elements may be selective to accommodate the electrical leads, terminals (i.e. input or outputs) and other conductive elements that are provided with, used by or incorporated into the light-emitting device.
Still further, one or more embodiments provide that VSD material is integrated or incorporated into the housing, intermediate layer or provided in some other formation that is integral or connected to a light-emitting device.
Additionally, one or more embodiments provide that VSD material is used during electroplating or other ion deposition processes for forming conductive elements and components of a light emitting device on a substrate or other structure. In one embodiment, a substrate is formed to include a layer of VSD material. A layer of resistive material is provided over the layer of VSD material. The resistive material is selectively removed to form a pattern that exposes regions of the resistive layer that identify locations that are to underlie where conductive elements of the light-emitting device are to be formed. In one embodiment, may correspond to any one or more of the following: (i) the leads and/or terminals into and out of the lighting component, electrical interconnect between the lighting component and other elements on the substrate, or between elements of the lighting component, (ii) the semiconductor or other light-emitting component of the device. Once the pattern is formed, a voltage is applied to the substrate that exceeds the characteristic voltage of the VSD material. Concurrently with applying the voltage, the substrate is exposed to ionic deposition so that conductive material bonds to the VSD material. This results in the formation of conductive traces on the substrate where at least a portion of the pattern is provided.
Various embodiments described herein apply VSD material to LED and OLED devices to enable a robust, scalable technique to manufacture and/or configure LED/OLED devices to have inherent ESD protection. With respect to high-brightness LEDs, for example, conventional approaches have long suffered from inability to handle ESD events, at least without implementing solutions that are expensive and/or affect scalability. In contrast, embodiments described herein enable scalable implementation of VSD material into LED and OLED devices, so as to provide inherent protection against ESD events. Furthermore, as described with embodiments of FIGS. 7 and 8A-
Depending on, for example, the type of materials used and/or the structure of the component 110, the spectrum of the emitted light may vary. In the case where the light-emitting component corresponds to an LED, the emitted light may include light from the visible spectrum (e.g. white, blue, green, red, yellow), or from the invisible spectrum (e.g. infrared, near-ultraviolet).
Regardless of the type of material and structure used for lighting component 110, embodiments described herein enable the device as a whole to better sustain transient electrical voltages and events as a result of the inclusion of VSD material.
In order to form the device 100, the light-emitting component 110 may be provided in one of alternative operational environments. In one implementation, light-emitting component 110 is provided on an optional substrate 122 or other platform, with conductive traces or elements interconnecting the device 100 to other devices provided with or mounted to the substrate. As an alternative or additional feature, one or more implementations provide that the light-emitting component 110 is included within a casing 124. Structures (including members or the substrate 122) may affix the light-emitting component 110 to the casing 124, and the casing 124 may be translucent or include translucent sections. As still another variation, the light-emitting component 110 may be provided as a standalone structure. For example, as described with an embodiment of
With regard to an embodiment of
As an alternative or addition to embodiments in which the VSD material is integrated or combined with electrical elements and components, one or more embodiments provide that the VSD material is integrated or combined into mechanical components or aspects of the device 100. Position 138 represents the inclusion of VSD material applied on or as part of the casing 124 of the device 100. In one implementation, the composition of the VSD material may include favorable mechanical characteristics (e.g. rigidity, flexure) for its use in the casing 124. Thus, for example, the VSD material may form part of a shell that encapsulates the light-emitting component 110. Alternatively, the VSD material may be included in structures that affix the device 100 to the casing 124.
As an alternative or addition to use of casing 124, the device 100 may be mounted onto the substrate 122. In one implementation, substrate 122 may incorporate the device as part of a much larger system, such as on a printed circuit board or motherboard. Alternatively, the substrate 122 may be relatively small, such as the size to isolate a singe device 100, or an array of like devices 100. Position 140 represents use of the VSD material in locations that overlay the substrate 122. For example, VSD material may be applied as a layer over the substrate. As described with one or more other embodiments, application of VSD material to a substrate may be part of a fabrication process where electrical elements are formed on the substrate.
As described with embodiments of
Light Emitting Diodes
Light emitting diodes are one kind of light emitting device that can integrate or otherwise incorporate VSD material, according to embodiments described herein. This section illustrates different implementations of light-emitting diodes that integrate or incorporate VSD material, according to embodiments of the invention.
In an embodiment, LED component 210 is configured to receive, under normal operating conditions, a current 215 (“normal current 215”) and supply voltage 116. When activated by the current, the LED component 210 emits light that has wavelength characteristics determined by the composition of the LED component.
In an embodiment, VSD material is provided underneath or as part of a substrate 220 or other structure that supports the LED component 210. For example, LED component 210 may be mounted on a substrate that interconnects multiple elements, including the LED component 210. Under normal conditions, the substrate 220 has dielectric properties, so that the normal current 215 and voltage supply 216 are unimpeded. If, however, a surge (or transient) voltage is generated that exceeds the characteristic voltage level of the VSD material, the VSD material of the substrate switches to being conductive. In the conductive state, the VSD material provides a ground for the resulting current flow. A surge voltage flow 230 results, illustrating the grounding effect of the VSD material in the substrate 220. The surge voltage that causes the voltage flow 230 may be any voltage that is above a characteristic voltage level of the VSD material applied or integrated with substrate 220.
As with any other embodiment, VSD material may be structured through any one or more of quantity, concentration, location, thickness or composition to have a characteristic voltage suitable for the intended use. Thus, for example, the characteristic voltage of the VSD material may be selected to be less than the breakdown voltage of the LED component 210, so that the LED component will not fail in any ESD event.
In one embodiment, the amount of VSD material in the formation 350 is relatively small, so that the formation 350 provides relatively little structural support. In another embodiment, the amount of VSD material in formation 350 includes sufficient mass to provide a base for supporting the leads 312, 314 in an affixed position.
Under normal operations, the formation 350 of VSD material may provide insulation and structure to the leads. In the presence of a transient voltage that exceeds the characteristic voltage level of the VSD composition in use, the formation 350 switches from being dielectric to becoming conductive. In this formation, the formation 350 provides a conductive path between the leads 312, 314. The effect is to ground the LED 310 when the transient voltage occurs.
The formation 350 of VSD material may, based on the composition and/or amount of VSD material in use, include a characteristic voltage level that is less than a breakdown voltage of the LED device 310 as a whole. As such, the presence of the transient voltage is less likely to damage the LED device 310.
Under normal conditions, the VSD layer 415 is a dielectric and does not affect operations of the LED device 410. When an ESD or other electrical event occurs, the VSD layer 415 directs the current resulting from the event to ground.
In an embodiment, the underlying VSD layer 415 serves the additional role of acting as an adhesive or affixture mechanism between the substrate 420 and the LED device 410. For example, some VSD materials have inherent adhesive properties. In such cases, the VSD layer 415 provides an underlying adhesive layer to the LED device 410.
Alternatively, the VSD material may be provided independent of the formation of other electrical components on the substrate 510. For example, VSD material may be provided on the substrate independent of the formation of trace elements, but coupled to the LED devices in a manner that enables the VSD material to ground those devices.
OLED Devices with VSD Material
One or more embodiments incorporate or integrate VSD material with OLED devices. According to an embodiment, an OLED device is coupled to VSD material so that the VSD can conduct current away from the OLED device in the presence of transient voltages and other abnormal electrical occurrences that exceed the operation specification of the OLED.
In an embodiment, a layer of VSD material 620 is connected to the driver 608. The VSD material may provide grounding when current from an unexpected source (e.g. ESD event) is encountered. Rather than being received by the driver 608 or being directed into the stack of the OLED 610, the VSD becomes conductive, and grounds the OLED device 610 against the surge. The VSD material may be structured, designed or selected to have a characteristic voltage level (where it switches to being conductive) that is less than the breakdown voltage of the OLED device 610, so that the VSD becomes conductive and grounds the device before it can breakdown or become non-operational.
Device Formation with VSD Material
General techniques for electroplating or forming electrical circuits and components using VSD material are described in the following: U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/941,226, filed Sep. 14, 2004, entitled “Current Carrying Structure Using Voltage Switchable Dielectric Material,” naming Lex Kosowsky as sole inventor; which is a continuation of U.S. Pat. No. 6,797,145 (formerly U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/315,496), filed on Dec. 9, 2002 and entitled “Current Carrying Structure Using Voltage Switchable Dielectric Material,” naming Lex Kosowsky as sole inventor; which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/437,882, filed on Nov. 10, 1999 and now abandoned; which claims priority to Provisional U.S. Application No. 60/151,188, filed on Aug. 27, 1999, and now expired. All of the aforementioned applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their respective entirety for all purposes.
According to a step 710, VSD material is applied to a substrate or surface on which conductive components and elements are to be provided. The amount of VSD material that may be deposited on the substrate may, depending on the application of the process described, range from between 1 micron to 1000 microns in thickness.
In a step 720, a layer of non-conductive material is provided over the VSD material. For example, photoresist material may be deposited over the VSD material.
Step 730 provides that the non-conductive layer is patterned on the substrate. The patterning exposes regions which coincide in position with the subsequent formation of conductive elements that are to comprise portions of an electrical component that is to include the light-emitting component. For example, the patterning may be selective to designate exposed regions that are to coincide with formation of electrical leads or terminals for the lighting component. In one embodiment, a mask may be applied to the non-conductive layer in order to pattern it.
For light-emitting devices such as described with one or more other embodiments, the exposed regions may coincide with locations where traces for leads, terminals, or interconnectivity elements to and from the light-emitting device are to be provided. However, as described with an embodiment of
In step 740, the VSD material is triggered or switched from being dielectric to being conductive. The VSD material may be applied a voltage that exceeds the material's characteristic voltage level. This voltage may be applied either on the thickness that includes the VSD material, or in the portion of the substrate that is underneath the VSD material. In the latter case, the portion of the substrate underneath the VSD material may be conductive (e.g. formed from copper or other metals) so as to carry the charge to the VSD material. Application of the voltage to the conductive substrate may be desired in come cases to avoid linear conductivity by the VSD material in the direction of the substrate. The applied voltage may be steady (e.g. “DC”) or pulsed.
While the VSD material is conductive, step 750 provides that an ion deposition process is performed to form conductive elements (e.g. traces) within the exposed regions of the pattern. Any one of many processes may be performed to deposit ionic media into at least some of the exposed regions defined by the pattern of the non-conductive layer. In one implementation, an electroplating process is performed, where the substrate, with the VSD material and patterned photoresist material, is submerged into an electrolytic solution.
As alternative implementation, ionic deposition is performed using a powder coating process. In this process, power particles are charged and applied to the exposed regions defined by the pattern. The application of the powder may be accomplished by depositing the powder on the exposed regions, or by submerging the substrate in a powder bath.
Still further, another implementation may use an electro-spray process. Ionic media may be contained in the form of charged particles in a solution. The solution may be applied to the substrate while the VSD material is conductive. The application of the spray may include the use of ink or paint.
Other deposition techniques may also be used for performing ion deposition on the VSD material when in the conductive state. For example, vacuum deposition processes such as physical vapor deposition (PVD) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes. In PVD, metal ions are introduced into a chamber to combine with gas ions. The VSD material on the substrate may be made conductive to have an opposite charge, so as to attract and bond with the ions of the chamber. In CVD, a film of ionic material may be applied to the VSD material on the surface of the substrate.
In step 760, the non-conductive material is optionally removed from the substrate, so as to leave the formed conductive elements. In one implementation, a base solution (e.g. KOH), or water, is applied to the substrate to remove the photoresist material. The conductive elements may correspond to leads, traces and other elements that are positioned to interconnect various components and/or regions of the substrate with each other and/or to the light-emitting device.
Subsequent to removing the photoresist layer, one or more embodiments provide that a polishing step is performed on the substrate with the formed electrical elements. In one embodiment, a chemical mechanical polish is used to polish the substrate.
The resulting substrate includes electrical elements with inherent ability to handle transient voltages and EOS. In the context of light-emitting devices, and substrates and other devices that include light-emitting devices, a process such as described in
Among other advantages, use of VSD material simplifies the process for forming such a device, while at the same time, enabling electrical components or elements of the LED or LED substrate to have inherent ability to handle EOS or ESD events. In particular, the integration of VSD material into the electrical components of the LED substrate enables the VSD material to ground the device when transient voltages are present (such as when ESD events occur).
In a step illustrated by
In a step illustrated by
In a step described by
In one implementation, ionic media deposition is performed by way of an electroplating process. In the electroplating process, the substrate 810 is submerged in an electrolytic solution, where ionic media from the solution bonds with the VSD material (which is in a conductive state) in the exposed regions defined by the pattern. As a result of this step, conductive material 840 is formed on the substrate 810, and the VSD material 812 underlies the conductive elements or components that will result from the formation of the conductive material 840.
As described with an embodiment of
As also described, the application of the voltage may be steady or pulsed.
Alternative ionic media deposition processes may be performed. For example, as described with an embodiment of
In a step of
An embodiment such as described by
One or more embodiments provide for LED substrate to include an array of LED components that are designed to be separated from the substrate and used individually, or in combination with other LEDs.
While embodiments such as described with
Moreover, with regard to any of the embodiments described, the LED substrate may be multi-dimensional. For example, components for an LED substrate may be incorporated on both sides of a substrate, and then conductively interconnected through use of one or more vias. The creation of a conductive vias may be performed in any one of many conventional techniques. Alternatively, one or more embodiments provide for formation of a vias on a substrate such as shown in embodiments of
In addition to two sided substrates, vias may extend conductivity to multiple conductive layers for a suitable designed substrate. For example, some substrates include intermediate thickness layers that include electrical components and elements. Vias may extend to connect to such layers embedded in the overall thickness of the substrate. In this way, the LED substrate may include conductively connected LEDs on different planes or surfaces, as well as components or elements that interconnect with the LEDs.
Embodiments described with reference to the drawings are considered illustrative, and Applicant's claims should not be limited to details of such illustrative embodiments. Various modifications and variations may be included with embodiments described, including the combination of features described separately with different illustrative embodiments. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims. Furthermore, it is contemplated that a particular feature described either individually or as part of an embodiment can be combined with other individually described features, or parts of other embodiments, even if the other features and embodiments make no mentioned of the particular feature.