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Enhanced Light Extraction from Organic Light Emitting Diodes

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a soft lithography microlens fabrication and array that enables more efficient organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), improving their commercial viability.  A 100% enhancement of the electroluminescence (EL) output compared to OLEDs with conventional structure has been demonstrated experimentally, and ISU is seeking partners interested in commercializing this technology.


OLEDs have received considerable attention for applications such as lighting and displays because they consume less energy than other technologies such as liquid crystal displays; in addition, they produce higher quality images since the pixels in an OLED generate their own light which can be turned off to make a pixel truly black and create a high contrast ratio.  However, OLEDs have not gained much commercial traction for lighting applications because they are expensive to manufacture and because there are intrinsic lighting inefficiencies due the OLED structure causing emitted light to be internally reflected or lost through edge emission.  To overcome these drawbacks, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a microlens array design and fabrication method that creates a new (micro)luminaire that is structurally integrated with the OLED pixel. The microlens array is produced using low cost soft lithography techniques on the substrate of OLEDs and enhances light extraction.  In addition, it is suitable for all colors, including white, and can be used for any configuration, pixel size, or pixel shape.  Since this microlens array makes OLEDs more efficient and since it can be manufactured using an economically viable method, it also makes commercial applications for OLEDs more practical.

• Economical (production does not require a clean room and uses low cost microtransfer molding technique)
• Efficient (100% enhancement of light extraction has been demonstrated experimentally)
• Versatile (can be used for all colors and any pixel size or shape as well as any configuration)


Applications and Industries

Lighting and displays.

More Information

For more information see

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,742,406
Soft lithography microlens fabrication and array for enhanced light extraction from organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs)
Provided are microlens arrays for use on the substrate of OLEDs to extract more light that is trapped in waveguided modes inside the devices and methods of manufacturing same. Light extraction with microlens arrays is not limited to the light emitting area, but is also efficient in extracting light from the whole microlens patterned area where waveguiding occurs. Large microlens array, compared to the size of the light emitting area, extract more light and result in over 100% enhancement. Such a microlens array is not limited to (O)LEDs of specific emission, configuration, pixel size, or pixel shape. It is suitable for all colors, including white, for microcavity OLEDs, and OLEDs fabricated directly on the (modified) microlens array.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Jay Bjerke<>