Multiple approaches for enhancing all-organic electronics photoluminescent sensors: Simultaneous oxygen and pH monitoring

TitleMultiple approaches for enhancing all-organic electronics photoluminescent sensors: Simultaneous oxygen and pH monitoring
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLiu R, Xiao T, Cui WP, Shinar J, Shinar R
Journal TitleAnalytica Chimica Acta
Date Published05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0003-2670
Accession NumberWOS:000318959400010
Keywordsand pH sensor, CHIP, films, light, Microcavity OLED, Microporous sensing films, Organic photodetector, oxygen, PHASE-SEPARATION, PHOTOLUMINESCENCE, planar, platform, POLYMER, solar-cells

Key issues in using organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) as excitation sources in structurally integrated photoluminescence (PL)-based sensors are the low forward light outcoupling, the OLEDs' broad electroluminescence (EL) bands, and the long-lived remnant EL that follows an EL pulse. The outcoupling issue limits the detection sensitivity (S) as only similar to 20% of the light generated within standard OLEDs can be forward outcoupled and used for sensor probe excitation. The EL broad band interferes with the analyte-sensitive PL, leading to a background that reduces S and dynamic range. In particular, these issues hinder designing compact sensors, potentially miniaturizable, that are devoid of optical filters and couplers. We address these shortcomings by introducing easy-to-employ multiple approaches for outcoupling improvement, PL enhancement, and background EL reduction leading to novel, compact all-organic device architectures demonstrated for simultaneous monitoring of oxygen and pH. The sensor comprises simply-fabricated, directionally-emitting, narrower-band, multicolor microcavity OLED excitation and small molecule- and polymer-based organic photodetectors (OPDs) with a more selective spectral response. Additionally, S and PL intensity for oxygen are enhanced by using polystyrene (PS):polyethylene glycol (PEG) blends as the sensing film matrix. By utilizing higher molecular weight PS, the ratio tau(0)/tau(00) (PL decay time tau at 0% O-2/tau at 100% O-2) that is often used to express S increases x1.9 to 20.7 relative to the lower molecular weight PS, where this ratio is 11.0. This increase reduces to x1.7 when the PEG is added (tau(0)/tau(00) = 18.2), but the latter results in an increase x2.7 in the PL intensity. The sensor's response time is <10s in all cases. The microporous structure of these blended films, with PEG decorating PS pores, serves a dual purpose. It results in light scattering that reduces the EL that is waveguided in the substrate of the OLEDs and consequently enhances light outcoupling from the OLEDs by similar to 60%, and it increases the PL directed toward the OPD. The multiple functional structures of multicolor microcavity OLED pixels/microporous scattering films/OPDs enable generation of enhanced individually addressable sensor arrays, devoid of interfering issues, for O-2 and pH as well as for other analytes and biochemical parameters. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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