Density of States of OLED Host Materials from Thermally Stimulated Luminescence

Andrei Stankevych, Alexander Vakhnin, Denis Andrienko, Leanne Paterson, Jan Genoe, Ivan Fishchuk, Heinz Bässler, Anna Köhler, Andrey Kadashchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The electronic density of states (DOS) plays a central role in controlling the charge-carrier transport in amorphous organic semiconductors, while its accurate determination is still a challenging task. We apply the low-temperature fractional thermally stimulated luminescence (TSL) technique to determine the DOS of pristine amorphous films of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) host materials. The DOS width is determined for two series of hosts, namely, (i) carbazole-biphenyl derivatives, 4,4′-bis(N-carbazolyl)-1,1′-biphenyl (CBP), 3,3′-di(9 H-carbazol-9-yl)-1,1′-biphenyl (mCBP), and 3′,5-di(9H-carbazol-9-yl)-[1,1′-biphenyl]-3-carbonitrile (mCBP-CN), and (ii) carbazole-phenyl (CP) derivatives, 1,3-bis(N-carbazolyl)benzene (mCP) and 9-[3-(9H-carbazol-9-yl)phenyl]-9H-carbazole-3-carbonitrile (mCP-CN). TSL originates from radiative recombination of charge carriers thermally released from the lower-energy part of the intrinsic DOS that causes charge trapping at very low temperatures. We find that the intrinsic DOS can be approximated by a Gaussian distribution, with a deep exponential tail accompanying this distribution in CBP and mCBP films. The DOS profile broadens with increasing molecular dipole moments, varying from 0 to 6 D, in a similar manner within each series, in line with the dipolar disorder model. The same molecular dipole moment, however, leads to a broader DOS of CP compared with CBP derivatives. Using computer simulations, we attribute the difference between the series to a smaller polarizability of cations in CP derivatives, leading to weaker screening of the electrostatic disorder by induction. These results demonstrate that the low-temperature TSL technique can be used as an efficient experimental tool for probing the DOS in small-molecule OLED materials.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 29 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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