US20070040501A1 - Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device - Google Patents

Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device Download PDF

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US20070040501A1
US20070040501A1 US11/207,691 US20769105A US2007040501A1 US 20070040501 A1 US20070040501 A1 US 20070040501A1 US 20769105 A US20769105 A US 20769105A US 2007040501 A1 US2007040501 A1 US 2007040501A1
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material
liquidus temperature
device
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low
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Bruce Aitken
Mark Lewis
Mark Quesada
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Corning Inc
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Corning Inc
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Assigned to CORNING INCORPORATED reassignment CORNING INCORPORATED ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: AITKEN, BRUCE G., LEWIS, MARK A., QUESADA, MARK A.
Publication of US20070040501A1 publication Critical patent/US20070040501A1/en
Priority claimed from US11/820,855 external-priority patent/US7722929B2/en
Priority claimed from US12/072,784 external-priority patent/US7829147B2/en
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05DPROCESSES FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05D5/00Processes for applying liquids or other fluent materials to surfaces to obtain special surface effects, finishes or structures
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C03GLASS; MINERAL OR SLAG WOOL
    • C03CCHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF GLASSES, GLAZES, OR VITREOUS ENAMELS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF GLASS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF FIBRES OR FILAMENTS MADE FROM GLASS, MINERALS OR SLAGS; JOINING GLASS TO GLASS OR OTHER MATERIALS
    • C03C3/00Glass compositions
    • C03C3/12Silica-free oxide glass compositions
    • C03C3/122Silica-free oxide glass compositions containing oxides of As, Sb, Bi, Mo, W, V, Te as glass formers
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C03GLASS; MINERAL OR SLAG WOOL
    • C03CCHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF GLASSES, GLAZES, OR VITREOUS ENAMELS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF GLASS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF FIBRES OR FILAMENTS MADE FROM GLASS, MINERALS OR SLAGS; JOINING GLASS TO GLASS OR OTHER MATERIALS
    • C03C3/00Glass compositions
    • C03C3/12Silica-free oxide glass compositions
    • C03C3/14Silica-free oxide glass compositions containing boron
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C03GLASS; MINERAL OR SLAG WOOL
    • C03CCHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF GLASSES, GLAZES, OR VITREOUS ENAMELS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF GLASS; SURFACE TREATMENT OF FIBRES OR FILAMENTS MADE FROM GLASS, MINERALS OR SLAGS; JOINING GLASS TO GLASS OR OTHER MATERIALS
    • C03C3/00Glass compositions
    • C03C3/12Silica-free oxide glass compositions
    • C03C3/23Silica-free oxide glass compositions containing halogen and at least one oxide, e.g. oxide of boron
    • C03C3/247Silica-free oxide glass compositions containing halogen and at least one oxide, e.g. oxide of boron containing fluorine and phosphorus
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L51/00Solid state devices using organic materials as the active part, or using a combination of organic materials with other materials as the active part; Processes or apparatus specially adapted for the manufacture or treatment of such devices, or of parts thereof
    • H01L51/50Solid state devices using organic materials as the active part, or using a combination of organic materials with other materials as the active part; Processes or apparatus specially adapted for the manufacture or treatment of such devices, or of parts thereof specially adapted for light emission, e.g. organic light emitting diodes [OLED] or polymer light emitting devices [PLED];
    • H01L51/52Details of devices
    • H01L51/5237Passivation; Containers; Encapsulation, e.g. against humidity
    • H01L51/5253Protective coatings

Abstract

A method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device are described herein. To inhibit the oxygen and moisture degradation of the device, a low liquidus temperature (LLT) material which typically has a low liquidus temperature (or in specific embodiments a low glass transition temperature) is used to form a barrier layer on the device. The LLT material can be, for example, tin fluorophosphate glass, chalcogenide glass, tellurite glass and borate glass. The LLT material can be deposited onto the device by, for example, sputtering, evaporation, laser-ablation, spraying, pouring, frit-deposition, vapor-deposition, dip-coating, painting or rolling, spin-coating or any combination thereof. Defects in the LLT material from the deposition step can be removed by a consolidation step (heat treatment), to produce a pore-free, gas and moisture impenetrable protective coating on the device. Although many of the deposition methods are possible with common glasses (i.e. high melting temperature glasses like borate silicate, silica, etc.), the consolidation step is only practical with the LLT material where the consolidation temperature is sufficiently low so as to not damage the inner layers in the device.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture penetration, and subsequent degradation of a device and the resulting device. Examples of this device include a light-emitting device (e.g., organic emitting light diode (OLED) device), a photovoltaic device, a thin-film sensor, an evanescent waveguide sensor, a food container and a medicine container.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Transport of oxygen or water through laminated or encapsulated materials and subsequent attack of an inner material(s) represent two of the more common degradation mechanisms associated with many devices like for example light-emitting devices (OLED devices), thin-film sensors, and evanescent waveguide sensors. For a detailed discussion about the problems associated with oxygen and water penetration into the inner layers (cathode and electro-luminescent materials) of OLED and other devices, reference is made to the following documents:
      • Aziz, H., Popovic, Z. D., Hu, N. X., Hor, A. H., and Xu, G. “Degradation Mechanism of Small Molecule-Based Organic Light-Emitting Devices”, Science, 283, pp. 1900-1902, (1999).
      • Burrows, P. E., Bulovic., V., Forrest, S. R., Sapochak, L. S., McCarty, D. M., Thompson, M. E. “Reliability and Degradation of Organic Light Emitting Devices”, Applied Physics Letters, 65(23), pp. 2922-2924.
      • Chatham, H., “Review: Oxygen Diffusion Barrier Properties of Transparent Oxide Coatings on Polymeric Substrates”, 78, pp. 1-9, (1996).
  • Unless something is done to minimize the penetration of oxygen or water into OLED devices, the lifetimes would be severely affected. Much effort has been expended to drive OLED operation towards 40 kilo-hour lifetimes, the levels generally regarded as necessary so OLED devices can overtake older display technologies as discussed in the following document:
      • Forsythe, Eric, W., “Operation of Organic-Based Light-Emitting Devices, in Society for Information Display (SID) 40th anniversary Seminar Lecture Notes, Vol. 1, Seminar M5, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Mass., May 20 and 24, (2002).
  • The more prominent efforts to extend the lifetime of OLED devices include gettering, encapsulation and extensive device sealing techniques. Today one common way for sealing an OLED device is to use different types of epoxies, inorganic materials and/or organic materials that form a seal after they are cured by ultra-violet light, or heated by various means. For example, Vitex Systems manufactures and offers for sell a coating under the brand name of Barix™ which is a composite based approach where alternate layers of inorganic materials and organic materials are used to seal the entire surface of the OLED device. Although these types of seals provide some level of hermetic behavior, they can be very expensive and there are many instances in which they have failed to prevent the diffusion of oxygen and water into the OLED device under prolonged operation.
  • The same sort of oxygen and water penetration problem is common in other types of devices as well like, for example, thin-film sensors, evanescent waveguide sensors, food containers and medicine containers. Accordingly, there is a need to inhibit the penetration of oxygen and water into devices like, for example, OLED devices, thin-film sensors, evanescent waveguide sensors, food containers and medicine containers. This need and other needs are satisfied by the present invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention utilizes an LLT (low liquidus temperature) material, which typically has a low low liquidus temperature (or in specific embodiments a low glass transition temperature), to form a barrier layer on a device. The LLT material includes, but is not limited to, tin fluorophosphate glass, chalcogenide glass, tellurite glass and borate glass. The LLT material can be deposited onto the device by, for example, sputtering, co-evaporation, laser ablation, flash evaporation, spraying, pouring, frit-deposition, vapor-deposition, dip-coating, painting or rolling, spin-coating, or any combination thereof. Defects in the LLT material from the deposition step can be removed by a consolidation step (for example, heat treatment), to produce a pore-free, gas and moisture impenetrable protective coating on the device. Although many of the deposition methods are possible with common glasses (i.e. those having high melting temperatures), the consolidation step is only practical with the LLT material where the consolidation temperature is sufficiently low so as to not damage the inner layers in the device. In other embodiments, the deposition step and/or heat treatment step take place in a vacuum, or in an inert atmosphere, or in ambient conditions depending upon the LLT's composition.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a flowchart illustrating the steps of a method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of the device that is protected by LLT material applied by the method shown in FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention; and
  • FIGS. 3-9 illustrate several different graphs, photos and diagrams that are used to help explain the different experiments and the results of the different experiments which were conducted to demonstrate the capabilities and advantages of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Referring to FIGS. 1-2, there are respectively illustrated a flowchart of a method 100 for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device 200 and a cross-sectional side view of the protected device 200. As described below, the device 200 includes a heat treated low liquidus temperature (LLT) material 202, one or more inner layers 204 and a support 206. And, the method 100 includes step 102 in which the LLT material 202 is deposited over one or more inner layers 204 located on top of the support 206 (e.g., substrate 206) (see also FIG. 5). The LLT material 202 can be deposited using anyone of variety of processes including, for example, sputtering, flash evaporation, spraying, pouring, frit-deposition, vapor-deposition, dip-coating, painting, rolling (for example a film LLT material 202), spin-coating, a co-evaporation, a laser ablation process, or any combination thereof. Alternatively, more than one type of LLT material 202 can be deposited (e.g., sputtered) at the same time over one or more inner layers 204 located on top of the support 206 (e.g., substrate 206). Moreover, multiple layers of the same or different types of LLT material 202 can be deposited (e.g., sputtered) over one or more inner layers 204 located on top of the support 206 (e.g., substrate 206). The method 100 also includes step 104 in which the device 200 including the deposited LLT material 202 is annealed, consolidated or heat treated. The heat treatment step 104 is performed to remove defects (e.g., pores) within the LLT material 202 which were formed during the deposition step 102. Some examples of different devices 200 that can be protected by the heat treated LLT material 202 include a light-emitting device (e.g., OLED device), a photovoltaic device, a thin-film sensor, an evanescent waveguide sensor, a food container and a medicine container. The deposition step 102 and the heat treatment step 104 can be performed in a vacuum or inert atmosphere. This is done to ensure that the water-less and oxygen-free condition is maintained throughout the sealing process. This is especially important for robust, long-life operation of organic electronics with minimal degradation.
  • In one embodiment, the device 202 is an OLED device 200 that has multiple inner layers 204 which include a cathode and electro-luminescent materials that are located on the substrate 206. The cathode and electro-luminescent materials 204 can be easily damaged if they are heated above for example 100-125° C. As such, the heat treatment step 104 (so as to minimize or eliminate porosity) would not be possible in this particular application if traditional glass was deposited on the OLED device 200. Because, the temperature (e.g., 600° C.) needed to remove the defects in a traditional glass (soda-lime) would be so high that the OLED device's inner layers 204 would be damaged. However, in the present invention, the heat treatment step 104 can be performed in this particular application because the temperature (e.g., 120° C.) needed to remove the defects in the LLT material 202 can be relatively low such that the OLED device's inner layers 204 would not be damaged.
  • The use of LLT material 202 makes this all possible because this type of material has a relatively low liquidus temperature ≦1000° C. The low liquidus temperature means that the LLT 202 can be heat treated at a relatively low temperature to obtain a pore-free film which will not thermally damage the OLED device's inner layer(s) 204. Again, it should be appreciated that the heat treated LLT material 202 can also be used as a barrier layer on a wide variety of devices 200 in addition to the OLED device 202 such as a thin-film sensor, a photovoltaic device, an evanescent waveguide sensor, a food container, a medicine container or an electronic device that is sensitive to moisture, oxygen or other gases (for example).
  • In the preferred embodiment, the LLT material 202 has low liquidus temperature ≦1000° C. (and more preferably ≦600° C. and even more preferably ≦400° C.) and can include, for example, glass such as tin fluorophosphate glass, chalcogenide glass, tellurite glass, borate glass and phosphate glass (e.g., alkali Zn or SnZn pyrophosphates). These LLT materials 202 are desirable for several reasons including (for example):
      • The low liquidus temperature (LLT) materials can be devoid of heavy metals and other environmentally undesirable materials.
      • The LLT materials can be durable and exhibit low dissolution rates when immersed in water at 85° C. (<20 microns per day). See, Tick, P. A., “Water Durable Glasses with Ultra Low Melting Temperatures”, Physics and Chemistry of Glasses, 25(6) pp. 149-154 (1984).
      • The LLT material can contain dye molecules and can be doped to levels as high as 8 mM (4.8×1018 cm−3). See, Tick, P. A., Hall, D. W., “Nonlinear Optical Effects in Organically Doped Low Melting Glasses”, Diffusion and Defect Data, Vol. 53-54, pp. 179-188, (1987).
      • The LLT phosphate glasses have helium permeability coefficients 4 to 5 orders of magnitude less than that of fused silica. See, Peter, K. H., Ho, D., Thomas, S., Friend, R. H., Tessler, N. “All-Polymer Optoelectronic Devices”, Science, 285, pp. 233-236, (199).
  • The tin fluorophosphate glass 202 is discussed first and the preferred composition ranges of the various constituents (in parts by weight) are indicated in TABLE 1.
    TABLE 1
    tin fluorophosphate
    glass 202*
    Sn 20-85 wt %
    P  2-20 wt %
    O 10-36 wt %
    F 10-36 wt %
    Nb  0-5 wt %

    *at least 75% total of Sn + P + O + F.
  • For a detailed discussion about tin fluorophosphate glass 202, reference is made to the following documents:
      • U.S. Pat. No. 4,314,031.
      • U.S. Pat. No. 4,379,070.
      • Tick, P. A., Weidman, D. L., “Optical Waveguides from Low Melting Temperature Glasses with Organic Dyes”, in Proceedings of SPIE—The International Society for Optical Engineering—Nonlinear Optical Properties of Organic Materials V, pp. 391-401, (1993).
      • Tick, P. A., “Water Durable Glasses with Ultra Low Melting Temperatures”, Physics and Chemistry of Glasses, 25(6) pp. 149-154 (1984).
      • Tick, P. A., Hall, D. W., “Nonlinear Optical Effects in Organically Doped Low Melting Glasses”, Diffusion and Defect Data, Vol. 53-54, pp. 179-188, (1987).
        The contents of these documents are incorporated by reference herein.
  • Three different tin fluorophosphate glasses 202 (composition nos. 1-3), one tellurite glass 202 (composition no. 4) and one borate glass 202 (composition no. 5) have been tested. Details about these tested LLT glasses 202 and the results and conclusions from those experiments are described next. TABLES 2A and 2B illustrate the compositions of the tested exemplary LLT glasses 202 with their TG (in this example and other examples herein TG is related to the low liquidus temperature) and various constituents as follows:
    TABLE 2A
    (atomic (or element) percent)
    tin fluoro- tin fluoro- tin tellurite borate
    phosphate phosphate fluorophosphate glass glass
    glass glass glass (Comp. (Comp.
    (Comp. #1) (Comp. #2) (Comp. #3) #4) #5)
    Sn 22.42 18.68 23.6
    P 11.48 11.13 11.8
    O 42.41 38.08 41.4 66.67 58.8
    Pb 3.04
    F 22.64 28.05 23.3
    Nb 1.05 1.02
    Ta 3.33
    Ga 3.33
    Te 26.67
    Bi 25.9
    Zn 5.88
    B 9.41
    TG 130° C. 131° C. 100° C. 360° C. 340° C.
  • TABLE 2B
    (mole percent)
    Comp. #1 39.6 SnF2 38.7 SnO 19.9 P2O5 1.8 Nb2O5
    Comp. #2 39.5 SnF2 27.7 SnO 20.0 P2O5 1.8 Nb2O5 10.9 PbF2
    Comp. #3 39.5 SnF2 40.5 SnO 20.0 P2O5
    Comp. #4 5.66 Ta2O5 5.66 88.9 TeO2
    Ga2O3
    Comp. #5 55 Bi2O3 25 ZnO 20 B2O3
  • The tested LLT glasses 202 are durable as indicated in FIGS. 3 and 4. FIG. 3 is a graph that illustrates the results of a weight loss experiment that was conducted for 1000 hours in 85° C. water. As can be seen, the tested LLT glasses 202 (composition nos. 1, 2 and 4) have a durability that is comparable to Corning Inc.'s 1737 glass (traditional glass). FIG. 4 is a graph that indicates that the weight loss measurements of the tested LLT glasses 202 (composition nos. 1 and 4-5).
  • A “calcium patch” experiment was also performed and the resulting experimental data are discussed next to illustrate the low permeability of oxygen and water through one of the aforementioned LLT glass film layers 202 (composition no. 1). FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an oven 502 which contains a device 200 that includes LLT glass films 202 (composition no. 1), two inner layers 204 (Al and Ca) and a substrate 206 (Corning Inc.'s 1737 glass substrate). The Al and Ca layers 204 were deposited on the thick substrate 206 and then encapsulated with LLT glass films 202 (composition no. 1). During this experiment, several of these devices 200 were placed within the oven 502 and subjected to environmental aging at a fixed temperature and humidity, typically 85° C. and 85% relative humidity (“85/85 testing”). In each tested device 200, the Ca layer 204 was initially a highly reflecting metallic mirror. And, if water and oxygen penetrated the top encapsulation layer of LLT glass films 202, then the metallic Ca 204 reacted and turned into an opaque white flaky crust which could be quantified with an optical measurement (see FIGS. 6 and 7).
  • More specifically, the “calcium patch” test was performed as follows. A 100 nm Ca film 204 was evaporated onto a Corning Inc.'s 1737 glass substrate 206. Then, a 200 nm Al layer 204 was evaporated on the Ca film 204. The Al layer 204 was used to simulate the conditions of a cathode typically used to produce polymer light emitting diodes (PLEDs). Using a “dual-boat” customized Cressington evaporator, the 1737 glass substrate 206 was maintained at 130° C. and approximately 10−6 Torr during the Ca and Al evaporation steps. After cooling to room temperature, the vacuum was broken and then the calcium patch was extracted and carried in a vacuum dessicator to an RF sputtering vacuum system, and pumped overnight back to 10−6 Torr. The LLT glass 202 (composition no. 1) was then sputtered onto the Al and Ca layers 204 under relatively gentle RF power deposition conditions (30 W forward/1 W reflected RF power) and low argon pressure (˜19 sccm) (see step 102 in FIG. 1). The sputtering was performed for 24 hours to obtain a glass thickness in the range of 2.5 μm (chamber pressure 10−3 Torr). It should be noted that the LLT material thickness can be made as thick as one needs depending on one's chosen deposition duration. Then, some of the newly created devices 200 were heated to ˜121° C. by an infrared lamp which was mounted in the vacuum chamber to consolidate the sputtered LLT glass layers 202 (see step 104 in FIG. 1) (see top row of pictures in FIG. 6). Upon cooling, the vacuum was broken and the heat-treated devices 200 and the non-heat-treated devices 200 were placed in a humidity chamber and held at 85° C. and 85%. relative humidity. During this period, pictures where taken at regular time intervals to quantify the evolution of the tested devices 202. An illustration of the changes to the calcium film in the tested devices 200, prepared under slightly different conditions is shown in FIG. 6.
  • FIG. 6 shows the pictures of the tested devices 200 which were taken at regular intervals to follow the rate of calcium oxidation which is an indication of the permeation properties of the LTG glass films 202. The left panel in FIG. 6, labeled “Typical Starting Condition”, shows the initial metallic Ca layers 204 of tested devices 200 before oxidation reactions associated with this test occurred (i.e., Ca+2H2O→Ca(OH)2+H2, and 2Ca+O2→2CaO) . The images in the bottom row were taken, at the indicated time intervals, of a sample device 200 prepared without any heating of the LLT glass sputtered glass layer 202. The images in the middle row were taken of a similar device 200 that was heated (at 121° C.) during the first hour of the 24 hour glass deposition time interval. And, the tested device 200 shown in the top row was prepared similarly except that it was heated (at 121° C.) after the 24 hour glass deposition time interval. Clearly, the tested device 200 shown in the top row that had the entire LTG glass thickness subjected to heat-treatment fended off oxygen and water attack best.
  • The photos of FIG. 6 were quantified by calculating the percentage of area that turned to a “white flaky crust” versus the percentage of area that maintained a “silvery metallic finish” and the calculated values were plotted as a function of time (see FIG. 7). FIG. 7 is a graph that illustrates the percentage of calcium area oxidized due to time spent in the 85° C. and 85% relative humidity oven 502 for the three tested devices 200 (see FIG. 6) and one non-covered device. As shown, data 702 represents the percentage of the calcium patch surface area that was oxidized on a calcium patch that had the 100 nm calcium and 200 nm aluminum layers but was not coated with LLT glass 202. And, data 704 represents the calcium patch surface area that was oxidized in one of the tested devices 200 which had a 2.5 μm sputtered LLT glass layer 202 (composition no. 1) that was not heat treated. Data 706 represents the calcium patch surface area that was oxidized in another tested device 200 which had a 2.5 μm sputtered LLT glass layer 202 (composition no. 1) that was heat treated at 121° C. for the first hour during the 24 hour deposition period. Lastly, data 708 represents the calcium patch surface area that was oxidized in another test device 200 which had a 2.5 μm sputtered LLT glass layer 202 (composition no. 1) that was heat treated at 121° C. for one hour after the 24 hour deposition period. As can be seen, the device 200 that was heat treated after the deposition period performed the best.
  • To generate this graph, LabView™ code was written to process the successive images shown in FIG. 6 of each tested device 200 during time spent in the 85/85 oven 502. The “first image” on the left side of FIG. 6, before the tested device 200 was placed in the humidity oven, served as the reference baseline from which a threshold was calculated. The threshold was assigned by choosing the first minimum pixel intensity value that occurred after the main peak, or “hump”, in the histogram of the first image. Data pixels, in later images, were deemed “calcium oxidized” if their pixel value exceeded this threshold. The fraction of area, deemed “calcium oxidized”, at any given time in the oven 502, is plotted in FIG. 7. Clearly, the tested device 200 with the LLT glass 202 (composition no. 1) that was heat treated at 121° C. after the 24 hour film deposition step exhibited the best impermeability for moisture and oxygen. As can be seen, this experiment has demonstrated that physically deposited low TG glass thin-film layers 202 can be gently “annealed” to restore the essentially pore-free barrier layer.
  • Next, we describe how the water permeation rates of the tested devices 200 were estimated with the aid of TABLE 3 and FIG. 8. The water permeation rate in the tested devices 200 were estimated by first calculating the total amount of calcium metal in the 100 nm layer 204. Then, by consulting FIG. 7 and other additional data, we estimated the time it took for half the calcium in the ½″×1″×100 nm patch to become oxidized, the so-called half life. This yields the average number of grams oxidized with water vapor per day, per unit meter2 in an 85/85 environment. To convert to ambient conditions, a scale factor was introduced between the ambient time (ambient half life) and time spent in the 85/85 environment (85/85 half life). To determine this scale factor, we used a calcium patch made with calcium and aluminum layers alone and placed half in the 85/85 oven 502, and the other half was left out in atmosphere. The time (1.2 hours) it took the half of the calcium patch that was placed in the oven to oxidize versus the time (163 hours) it took the half left out in the atmosphere to oxidize enabled us to estimate the scale factor required to convert the measured permeation rates to ambient conditions. These values are shown in the underlined section in TABLE 3.
    TABLE 3
    Half-life
    time to
    half 85/85 permeation ambient permeation
    coverage rate (measured) rate (calculated)
    no glass cover 163 hr 1.1 × 10−2 1.1 × 10−2
    no glass cover* 1.2 hr 1.6 1.1 × 10−2
    comp. no. 1 (no 16 hr 1.2 × 10−1 8.6 × 10−4
    heating)*
    comp. no. 1 little ≈320 hr 5.8 × 10−3 4.3 × 10−5
    heating*
    comp. no. 1 more ˜1250 hr 1.5 × 10−3 1.1 × 10−5
    heating of
    structure*

    *Heated in a “85/85” environment.
  • These values may be illustrated graphically and compared with traditional seals like Vitex system's Barix™ seals as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. The data associated with the tested device 200 that had LLT glass 204 (composition no. 1) which was heat treated after the deposition step is shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. Also, shown is data associated with Vitex system's Barix™ seals. As can be seen, the tested device 200 performed better than the device that used a Barix™ seal. It should be noted that the photograph/graph in FIG. 9B also shows the relative levels of oxygen permeability of typical polymers and coatings and the sensitivity limits of current test equipment.
  • From the foregoing, it can be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention utilizes LLT materials which have low liquidus temperatures to form a barrier layer with permeation properties comparable to the material itself. The LLT materials include, but are not limited to, tin fluorophosphate glass, chalcogenide glass, tellurite glass, phosphate glass and borate glass. These LLT materials are especially suitable for inhibiting oxygen or/and moisture degradation common to electronic devices, food or medicine. In addition, these LLT materials may be used to reduce, for example, photochemical, hydrolytic, and oxidative damage due to chemically active permeants. The LLT materials may be deposited using one or more of the following methods such as sputtering, evaporation, spraying, pouring, frit-deposition, vapor-deposition, dip-coating, painting or rolling, spin-coating (for example). Defects in the LLT materials from the deposition step are removed by a consolidation step (heat treatment) in order to produce a pore-free, gas and moisture impenetrable protective coating on the device. The barrier layer is quite durable, exhibiting low weight loss (0.28%) in standardized 1000 hour, 85° C. water-immersion tests, and enduring over 600 hours in calcium patch tests, in 85° C. and 85% relative humidity chambers. Although many of the deposition methods are possible with common glasses (i.e. high melting temperature), the consolidation step is truly practical with the LLT materials where the consolidation temperature is sufficiently low to inhibit thermal damage to nearby layers.
  • In recent experiments that have been conducted, it has been shown that with a certain type of LLT material 202 namely the tin fluorophosphates material it can have a higher Tg (and different stoichiometric composition) after it has been deposited (sputtered) as a film and after that sputtered film has been heat-treated. A description is provided next to discuss a theory as to why the Tg (and stoichiometric composition) is different between the starting LLT material and both the sputtered (deposited) film and the heat-treated sputtered film. Basically, in this experiment it has been found the original composition no. 1 glass target has all divalent tin (i.e., Sn2+). While, the sputter-deposited thin film material is composed of 66% Sn4+ and 34% Sn2+. Now when this sputter-deposited thin film material is heated at 120° C. for one hour in vacuum, the tin oxidation state is driven to 100% tetravalent tin (i.e., Sn4+). It is believed these differences in the Sn changes the stoichiometric composition and as a result the Tg of the deposited and heat treated composition no. 1 film.
  • It should be understood that this change in LT appears to happen with the tin fluorophosphates material and not with the tellurite and borate films which have the same Tg as the starting targets. Moreover, a tin-pyrophosphate glass (Sn2P2O7) was tested to see if the Tg changed between the sputtered (deposited) film and the heat-treated sputtered film. In this test, tin pyrophosphate powder was put it into an evaporative heating boat in a vacuum chamber and pumped down to a 10{circumflex over (0)}-6 Torr vacuum. The boat was then heated to approximately 80 Watts before we started evaporating the material onto a substrate. The deposited material was then heated at 120° C. for one hour in vacuum. Then, a hermeticity experiment was conducted on the resulting film and it was found that the stoichiometric composition of the material was maintained through-out the entire process. This includes the both the deposited film and the heated-deposited-film.
  • It has also been shown herein that barrier layers containing a subset of durable low liquidus temperature materials provide substantial protection from oxygen and water attack (and transport) beyond traditional physically-deposited oxide barrier layers. For instance, the preferred barrier layers described herein can have a water and oxygen permeance below 10−6 g/m2/day and 10−5 cc/m2/atm/day, respectively. Furthermore, it has been shown that physically-deposited low liquidus temperature thin-film barrier layers can be annealed at temperatures suitable for retaining the integrity of adjoining organic layer material physicochemical properties. This last feature makes durable low liquidus temperature materials unique compared with other physically deposited oxide barrier layers. These low liquidus temperature materials can be annealed at a low temperature so as to remove mesoscopic defects from the physically deposited layers and also retain the physicochemical properties of the adjoining organic under-layers. This is in contrast to the Vitex™ method in which the defects are not removed. Moreover, it has been shown that these low liquidus temperature barrier layers can be used to form an integral part of various devices (e.g., waveguide, grating sensors, photonic crystals etc.) while inhibiting the transport of materials detrimental to high-performance operation.
  • Even though specific types of tin fluorophosphate glass, borate glass and tellurite glass are discussed and described in detail herein, it should be appreciated that other types of LLT materials may also be used in accordance with the present invention. It should also be appreciated that low liquidus temperature materials can be made which contain small-composite materials or other electro-optic dopants. These dopants can optimize the refractive indices or add additional electro-optic features to a device 200. This can be particularly, useful when the device 200 is a waveguide sensor.
  • Although several embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.

Claims (30)

1. A method for for creating a gas/fluid barrier layer on a device, said method comprising the steps of:
depositing a low liquidus temperature inorganic material over at least a portion of said device; and
heat treating said low liquidus temperature inorganic material to create the gas/fluid barrier later over said at least a portion of said device.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the deposited low liquidus temperature inorganic material and the heat treated low liquidus temperature inorganic material have a higher liquidus temperature than the starting low liquidus temperature inorganic material.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the deposited low liquidus temperature inorganic material and the heat treated low liquidus temperature inorganic material have a same low liquidus temperature than the starting low liquidus temperature inorganic material.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said depositing step includes utilizing a selected one or a combination of the following:
a sputtering process;
an evaporation process;
a spraying process;
a pouring process;
a frit-deposition process;
a vapor-deposition process;
a dip-coating process;
a painting process;
a laser ablation process;
a co-evaporation process;
a rolling process; and
a spin-coating process.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said heat treating step is performed in a vacuum or an inert environment and at a temperature which does not damage components in said device.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material is a tin-fluorophosphate material.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein said tin-fluorophosphate material has the following composition:
Sn (20-85 wt %)
P (2-20 wt %)
O (10-36 wt %)
F (10-36 wt %)
Nb (0-5 wt %); and
at least 75% total of Sn+P+O+F.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material is one of the following, or any combination thereof:
tin-fluorophosphate material;
chalcogenide material;
tellurite material;
borate material; and
phosphate material.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦1000° C.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦600° C.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦400° C.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein said device is a selected one of:
an organic-electronic device including:
an OLED;
a PLED,
a photovoltaic; and
a thin film transistor;
a thin-film sensor;
an optoelectronic device including:
an optical switch; and
a waveguide;
a photovoltaic device;
a food container; and
a medicine container.
13. An organic electronic device comprising:
a substrate plate;
at least one organic electronic or optoelectronic layer; and
a low liquidus temperature inorganic material, wherein said at least one electronic or optoelectronic layer is hermetically sealed between said low liquidus temperature inorganic material and said substrate plate.
14. The OLED display of claim 13, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material is a tin-fluorophosphate material.
15. The OLED display of claim 14, wherein said tin-fluorophosphate material has the following composition:
Sn (20-85 wt %)
P (2-20 wt %)
O (10-36 wt %)
F (10-36 wt %)
Nb (0-5 wt %); and
at least 75% total of Sn+P+O+F.
16. The OLED display of claim 13, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material is at least partially one of the following:
tin-fluorophosphate material;
chalcogenide material;
tellurite material;
borate material; and
phosphate material.
17. The OLED display of claim 13, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦1000° C.
18. The OLED display of claim 13, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦600° C.
19. The OLED display of claim 13, wherein said low liquidus temperature inorganic material has a liquidus temperature ≦400° C.
20. A device which has at least a portion thereof sealed with a film of a low liquidus temperature (LLT) material.
21. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material is a tin-fluorophosphate material which has the following composition:
Sn (20-85 wt %)
P (2-20 wt %)
O (10-36 wt %)
F (10-36 wt %)
Nb (0-5 wt %); and
at least 75% total of Sn+P+O+F.
22. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material is at least partially one of the following:
tin-fluorophosphate material;
chalcogenide material; tellurite material;
borate material; and
phosphate material.
23. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material has a liquidus temperature ≦1000° C.
24. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material has a liquidus temperature ≦600° C.
25. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material has a liquidus temperature ≦400° C.
26. The device of claim 20, wherein said LLT material is doped with a dopant.
27. (canceled)
28. A low liquidus temperature material comprising:
Sn (20-85 wt %)
P (2-20 wt %)
O (10-36 wt %)
F (10-36 wt %)
Nb (0-5 wt %); and
at least 75% total of Sn+P+O+F.
29. The low liquidus temperature material of claim 28, wherein said low liquidus temperature material has a liquidus temperature ≦1000° C. and an oxygen permeance of less than 0.01 cc/m2/atm/day and a water permeance of less than 0.01 g/m2/day.
30. The device of claim 20, wherein said low liquidus temperature material has a liquidus temperature ≦1000° C. and an oxygen permeance of less than 0.01 cc/m2/atm/day and a water permeance of less than 0.01 g/m2/day.
US11/207,691 2005-08-18 2005-08-18 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device Abandoned US20070040501A1 (en)

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US11/207,691 US20070040501A1 (en) 2005-08-18 2005-08-18 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device
EP06800857.2A EP1929559B1 (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-09 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device
JP2008526984A JP5113054B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-09 Inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device method and the resulting device
KR1020087006506A KR101353226B1 (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-09 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device
CN 200680030038 CN101243562A (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-09 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device
PCT/US2006/030670 WO2007021627A1 (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-09 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device
TW95130327A TWI360904B (en) 2005-08-18 2006-08-17 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradat
US11/820,855 US7722929B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2007-06-21 Sealing technique for decreasing the time it takes to hermetically seal a device and the resulting hermetically sealed device
US12/072,784 US7829147B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2008-02-28 Hermetically sealing a device without a heat treating step and the resulting hermetically sealed device
US12/755,023 US8435604B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2010-04-06 Sealing technique for decreasing the time it takes to hermetically seal a device and the resulting hermetically sealed device
US12/894,474 US8304990B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2010-09-30 Hermetically sealing a device without a heat treating step and the resulting hermetically sealed device
US14/223,380 US9050622B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2014-03-24 Method for inhibiting oxygen and moisture degradation of a device and the resulting device

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US12/072,784 Continuation-In-Part US7829147B2 (en) 2005-08-18 2008-02-28 Hermetically sealing a device without a heat treating step and the resulting hermetically sealed device
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