EP0140246A1 - A thin film electroluminescent display device - Google Patents

A thin film electroluminescent display device Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0140246A1
EP0140246A1 EP19840112241 EP84112241A EP0140246A1 EP 0140246 A1 EP0140246 A1 EP 0140246A1 EP 19840112241 EP19840112241 EP 19840112241 EP 84112241 A EP84112241 A EP 84112241A EP 0140246 A1 EP0140246 A1 EP 0140246A1
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Prior art keywords
dark field
display device
layer
electroluminescent display
set forth
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
EP19840112241
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP0140246B1 (en )
Inventor
Martin P. Schrank
Murthy S. Ayyagari
Dennis B. Shinn
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Ledvance LLC
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Ledvance LLC
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05BELECTRIC HEATING; ELECTRIC LIGHTING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05B33/00Electroluminescent light sources
    • H05B33/12Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces
    • H05B33/22Light sources with substantially two-dimensional radiating surfaces characterised by the chemical or physical composition or the arrangement of auxiliary dielectric or reflective layers

Abstract

A thin film electroluminescent display device comprising a transparent electrode layer, a segmented electrode layer, an electroluminescent phosphor layer between the electrode layers, and an improved dark field material disposed as a layer between the phosphor and segmented electrode layers. The improved dark field layer is of a composition of a dielectric material, such as the preferred magnesium oxide, and a noble metal, which in the preferred version is gold. These materials comprising the dark field composition may be co-evaporated by an electron beam evaporation or other suitable deposition technique. The composition of dark field material provides for contrast enhancement is non-toxic, and is readily analyzable.

Description

  • The present invention relates in general to a thin film electroluminescent display device and is concerned, more particularly, with an improved dark field material for such a thin film electroluminescent display device.
  • Electroluminescent devices generally comprise a phosphor layer disposed between two electrode layers with one of the electrodes being transparent so as to permit viewability of the phosphor layer. It is known to provide a dark field layer behind the phosphor layer in order to improve the contrast ratio of the device when using a segmented back electrode layer; that is to say, to provide visibility of the phosphor layer overlying the back electrode segments even under ambient conditions of high brightness. See U.S. Patent 3,560,784 for an example of a dark field layer, the material of which may comprise arsenic sulphide, arsenic selenide, arsenic sulfoselenide or mixtures thereof. However, these arsenic compounds either do not provide a satisfactory dark color or they change color during use.
  • Perhaps the most common dark field material presently being used is cadmium telluride (CdTe). Although the CdTe layer provides for enhancement in contrast between the displayed information and the background, one of the problems associated with the CdTe composition is that it is toxic and the material does not meet safety specifications for commercial products as required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act).
  • One solution to this toxicity problem is described in copending application U.S. Serial No. 262,097, filed May 11, 1981 and assigned to the present assignee, which defines an electroluminescent device having a dark field layer comprising a cermet of chromium oxide - chromium (Cr203/Cr). Although overcoming the toxicity problem, this cermet comprises a combination of a metal (Cr) and an oxide (Cr 0 ) of the same base metal, thereby rendering the dark field composition difficult, if not impossible, for analysis of the constituent proportions. Such analysis is important to enable precise control of the constituent proportion for providing optimum results.
  • Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved electroluminescent display device and in particular an improved dark field material for such a device.
  • Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved dark field in accordance with the preceding object and which is characterized by an improved contrast ratio of the device.
  • Still another object of the present invention is to provide a dark field material in accordance with the preceding objects and which is non-toxic and meets the safety specifications for commercial products required by OSHA.
  • A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved dark field layer in a thin film electroluminescent display device in which for at least some applications, only a single transparent dielectric layer of the device is employed in comparison with the typical first and second transparent dielectric layers used in the past in electroluminescent thin film display devices.
  • Still a further object of the present inventipn is to provide an improved dark field material for a thin film electroluminescent display device in which the dark field layer is formed of constituents which are readily analyzable, and thus precisely controllable, to provide enhanced flexibility in controlling parameters of the dark field layer such as contrast ratio.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • To accomplish the foregoing and other objects of this invention, there is provided an improved dark field material for a thin film electroluminescent display device, which display device typically comprises an electroluminescent phosphor layer disposed between two electrode layers with one of the electrodes being transparent to permit viewability of the phosphor layer. The improved dark field layer in accordance with the present invention comprises a composition of a dielectric material, preferably a ceramic, in combination with a noble metal, which in the preferred embodiment is gold. The ceramic is preferably magnesium oxide. The preferred composition of magnesium oxide and gold may be formed by a sputtering technique, examples of which are described in further detail hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Numerous other objects, features and advantages of the invention should now become apparent upon a reading of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
    • FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view showing the multiple layers of a thin film electroluminescent display device including the dark field layer of this invention; and
    • FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional view showing an alternative construction of the thin film electroluminescent display device showing a single transparent dielectric layer rather than the two dielectric layers depicted in FIG. 1.
    DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • In accordance with the present invention, the dark field material for a thin film electroluminescent display device is formed by a composition of a dielectric material with a noble metal. The dark field layer serves the basic purpose of enhancing the contrast between the displayed information which is usually in segment form and the background. In order to. eliminate the prior art problem associated with CdTe dark field layers, which are toxic, and yet provide suitable analyzability of the dark field composition, it has been found in accordance with the present invention that a composition of, for example, magnesium oxide and gold which are co-evaporated, preferably by an electron beam technique, provide a dark field material that is non-toxic, is readily analyzable and meets the safety specifications for commercial products. A layer of such material has not previously been employed at all in the construction of electroluminescent display devices, although, a MgO/Au film has been previously evaluated as a solar absorbing material for solar panels. In this regard, see U.S. Patent 4,312,915; also see the article by Fan and Zavracky, Applied Physics Letters, Volume 29, No. 8, 15 October, 1976, page 478-480. Also see the article by Berthier and Lafait in Thin Solid Films 89 (1982) 213-220 entitled "Optical Properties of Au-HgO Cermet Thin Films: Percolation Threshold and Grain Size Effect". The latter article is concerned primarily with the method of deposition and associated optical properties.
  • In addition to the advantage of non-toxicity of the composition of this invention, the layer has also been found to unexpectedly provide contrast enhancement.
  • With reference to the drawing, it is noted that in FIG. 1 there is shown a version of an electroluminescent display device incorporating the dark field of this invention. In FIG. 2, one of the two transparent dielectric layers shown in FIG. 1 has been removed because, in accordance with the present invention, the improved dark field layer also functions as a substitute for one of the dielectric layers. In other words the dielectric/noble metal composition serves both as the dark field and as the second dielectric.
  • In FIGS. 1 and 2, like reference characters are used to identify like layers of each embodiment disclosed. Thus, there is shown a glass substrate 10 on which are formed a number of multiple thin-film layers, which may be enclosed by a glass seal 11. These layers include a transparent electrode 12, a first transparent dielectric layer 14, an electroluminescent phosphor layer 16, a second transparent dielectric layer 18, a dark field layer 20, and a back segmented-electrode 22. In FIGS. 1 and 2 the transparent dielectric layers may be of yttria, and the electroluminescent phosphor layer may be of, for example, zinc sulphide. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the second transparent dielectric layer 18 is shown, but it is noted that in the embodiment of FIG. 2, this layer is not present.. The dark field layer 20 in FIG. 2 instead serves both as the dark field and as the second dielectric layer.
  • The composition of the dark field layer 20, which in its broadest sense comprises a dielectric material, preferably a ceramic, and a noble metal, preferably gold, may be deposited by co-evaporation using standard deposition techniques. In accordance with one technique, co-evaporation is used with e-beam equipment. The evaporation may take place in one chamber of a two-chamber system. The two chamber system has two e-beam guns, each with its own power supply. In the preferred version, magnesium oxide may be in pellet form and loaded into one crucible, and gold is disposed in the second crucible. The deposition may be measured by means of conventional crystal monitors. One crystal monitor is placed over each crucible being disposed as close as possible to the position where the substrate is. The co-evaporation technique using separate crucibles is carried out in a vacuum of preferably better than 1 x 10-5 torr. The volume percentage of gold is varied with the gold concentration preferably in the range of 6%-10% by volume. The percentage of gold in the composition is instrumental in controlling the resistivity of the cermet. With regard to the control of gold (noble metal) concentration, reference is now made to a co-pending application Serial No. (attorney's docket No. 22,429) filed of even date herewith and assigned to the present assignee.
  • In one test that was carried out, the dark field layer had a thickness of 0.5 micron. The preferred film thickness is in the range of 5000-9000 Angstroms. The lateral resistance between back electrode segments is on the order of 10 megohms while the perpendicular resistance across the film thickness is on the order of lK ohm or 1ess. A contrast ratio of 2:1 is measured at an ambient light level of 2500 foot-candles with the back electrode segments at 160 volts and 60 foot-lamberts. With those parameters, display devices have been operated successfully up to 500 hours of operating time.
  • With regard to measurements of contrast between the displayed information and the background, such measurements have been taken by shining a Sylvania Sun-Gun lamp at the lighted and unlighted display segments. The Sun-Gun lamp was set at an output of 3500 foot-candles. In two different respective devices that were tested, the contrast ratio measured was 4.2 and 5.3, respectively.
  • In accordance with another technique for forming the dark field layer, sputtering may be used in a reactive atmosphere of say argon and oxygen in a ratio of 70%-30%, respectively.
  • One of the primary advantages of the composition MgO/Au is that the material itself as well as the process forming it, is non-toxic. Also, the admixed metal (Au) and the metal of the metal oxide (Mg) are two different materials and thus the ratio between these constituents is readily analyzable and, thus, provides for an added degree of control over such parameters of the dark field layer as electrical conductivity and optical absorption.
  • Reference has been made to the preferred layer construction of magnesium oxide and gold. However, it is understood that in accordance with other embodiments of the invention the composition may comprise other noble metals in place of the gold such as platinum or silver. The dielectric portion of the composition may be a ceramic. This can be a metal oxide or a metal nitride (such as aluminum nitride) or can even be a semiconductor such as silicon dioxide or germanium dioxide. The noble metal portion of the composition is in the form of a relatively stable metal thus not tending to react with the metallic in the ceramic portion of the composition. The noble metal, such a gold does not readily oxidize if it is mixed-with the magnesium oxide.
  • Having now described a limited number of embodiments of the present invention, it should now be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous other embodiments are contemplated as falling within the scope of this invention as defined by the appended claims, for example, the dark field layer may be deposited by techniques other than co-evaporation or electron beam evaporation, such as by sputtering.
  • What is claimed is:

Claims (12)

1. An electroluminescent display device comprising a transparent electrode layer, a segmented electrode layer, an electroluminescent phosphor layer disposed between said electrode layers, and a dark field layer of a composition of a dielectric material with a noble metal, said dark field layer being interposed between said electroluminescent phosphor layer and said segmented electrode layer.
2. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 including only-a single transparent dielectric layer adjacent the electroluminescent phosphor layer.
3. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the dark field layer has a film thickness in the range of 5000-9000 Angstroms.
4. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the device has a contrast ratio of at least 2:1.
5.. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the composition of the dark field layer is deposited by co-evaporation from separate sources.
6. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the noble metal comprises gold.
7. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said dielectric material of the dark field layer comprises a metal oxide.
8. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 7 wherein said metal oxide comprises magnesium oxide.
9. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said dielectric material of the dark field layer comprises silicon dioxide.
10. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said dielectric material of the dark field layer comprises germanium dioxide.
11. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said dielectric material of the dark field layer comprises aluminum nitride.
12. An electroluminescent display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said dielectric material of the dark field layer is comprised of a metal oxide, a metal nitride or a semiconductor.
EP19840112241 1983-10-11 1984-10-11 A thin film electroluminescent display device Expired EP0140246B1 (en)

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE3712855A1 (en) * 1986-09-29 1988-04-07 Ricoh Kk Thin-film electroluminescent
GB2202087A (en) * 1987-03-12 1988-09-14 Cherry Corp Electroluminescent display with interlayer for improved forming
US6610352B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2003-08-26 Ifire Technology, Inc. Multiple source deposition process
CN101218855B (en) 2005-04-15 2011-03-23 伊菲雷知识产权公司;三洋电机株式会社 Magnesium oxide-containing barrier layer for thick dielectric electroluminescent displays

Families Citing this family (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8133554B2 (en) 2004-05-06 2012-03-13 Micron Technology, Inc. Methods for depositing material onto microfeature workpieces in reaction chambers and systems for depositing materials onto microfeature workpieces

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3560784A (en) * 1968-07-26 1971-02-02 Sigmatron Inc Dark field, high contrast light emitting display
GB2039146A (en) * 1978-12-29 1980-07-30 Gte Sylvania Inc High contrast display device having a dark layer
US4312915A (en) * 1978-01-30 1982-01-26 Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Cermet film selective black absorber
DE3114199A1 (en) * 1980-04-24 1982-03-25 Lohja Ab Oy electroluminescent
GB2109161A (en) * 1981-10-22 1983-05-25 Sharp Kk Thin film electroluminescent display panels

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3560784A (en) * 1968-07-26 1971-02-02 Sigmatron Inc Dark field, high contrast light emitting display
US4312915A (en) * 1978-01-30 1982-01-26 Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Cermet film selective black absorber
GB2039146A (en) * 1978-12-29 1980-07-30 Gte Sylvania Inc High contrast display device having a dark layer
DE3114199A1 (en) * 1980-04-24 1982-03-25 Lohja Ab Oy electroluminescent
GB2109161A (en) * 1981-10-22 1983-05-25 Sharp Kk Thin film electroluminescent display panels

Non-Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 29, No. 8, October 15, 1976, Massachusetts, USA FAN. ZAVRACKY "Selective Black Absorbers using MgO/Au Cermet Films" pages 478-480 * totality * *
Thin Solid Films, Vol. 89, No. 2, March 12, 1982, Elsevier Sequoia, Netherlands S. BERTHIER "Optical Properties of Au-MgO Cermet Thin Films: Percolation Threshold and Grain Size Effect" pages 213-220 * totality * *

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE3712855A1 (en) * 1986-09-29 1988-04-07 Ricoh Kk Thin-film electroluminescent
GB2202087A (en) * 1987-03-12 1988-09-14 Cherry Corp Electroluminescent display with interlayer for improved forming
US4849674A (en) * 1987-03-12 1989-07-18 The Cherry Corporation Electroluminescent display with interlayer for improved forming
US6610352B2 (en) 2000-12-22 2003-08-26 Ifire Technology, Inc. Multiple source deposition process
CN101218855B (en) 2005-04-15 2011-03-23 伊菲雷知识产权公司;三洋电机株式会社 Magnesium oxide-containing barrier layer for thick dielectric electroluminescent displays

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EP0140246B1 (en) 1987-09-16 grant
DE3466342D1 (en) 1987-10-22 grant
CA1243762A (en) 1988-10-25 grant

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