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what easily obtainable polymers/ organic material could i use for making an OLED? Answered

ok so for the past year or so i've been quite interested in OLED's. i've done some research and figured that they weren't very complicated at all - i saw a video of an electronic charge being put into a pickle and it glowing. production of one doesnt seem too difficult but i can't find any effective organic materials or polymers that could be used that are easy to obtain and not too expensive. anyone have any ideas? thanks. (p.s. ive seen kits for them but the prices are ridiculous at over £100 just for the liquids)


You might have more luck with homebrew electroluminescence . For this you basically find an appropriate phosphor, and then sandwich that phosphor into a region of strong alternating electric field, e.g. between two insulated wires.

Jeri Ellsworth has done a lot of garage-type, easy-to-find-materials, research into homemade EL-wire.  You can see some of it here:
and also in some of her other Youtube videos:

i'm actually doing another project with el-wire but am intruiged by OLED's. since OLED's are organic light emitting diodes, surely it's just organic materials that give off light when given a positive and negative charge? i guess what im asking is if theres any cheap polymers or organic materials that i can buy or possibly synthesize?

The following articles:
mention a number organic semiconductors by name,  and also sort of explain the principle by which these compounds conduct electricity.  It's something to do with "delocalized pi electrons".  To me it is not exactly clear if any of these compounds would be easy to find or synthesize in one's kitchen. 

BTW, I think I found the pickle demo you mentioned, here:
Although I think professor Bulovic might be playing kind of fast and loose with the terminology, saying the pickle demo is, or is like an OLED.  I mean he also mentions the color as being due to the presense of sodium atoms, but sodium atoms are not organic.  Also I suspect most of the conduction in the pickle demo is from ion flow, the same as conduction through salt water,  rather than conduction through conjugated pi orbitals, as found in a true organic semiconductor.

Anyway, that's all I've got for you.  I wish you luck with whatever you end up building.

Glowing pickles aren't OLEDs - the kits are as good as you're going to get, price-wise.

I'd say 100 quid for the highly specialised chemicals was a damned good price wouldn't you ?

Easily. I'd guess you'd need clean-room conditions as well?

Dunno, you ain't going to be making a hi-res monitor with a DIY kit, so if you were just painting a demo on something, maybe not. Intriguing idea though. Wonder when Dulux will be selling it ?

on hack a day they have a link that shows you how to make one. there really simple to make and result in simple OLED's. considering the kit consists of two very small tubes of an organic material i think the price is quite high. since there are so many polymers and organic materials i wouldn't of thought getting an effective one for this purpose would be that difficult or expensive.

Unless you are an chemist of some experience, and resource I don't think you can easily synthesise this stuff.

There are a lot of details here on the making of an OLED and synthesising the active ingredient.

Here's a list of the chemicals needed, and their Aldrich numbers

* Ruthenium(III) chloride trihydrate (Aldrich 20,622-9)
* Hypophosphorous acid, 50 wt % in water (Aldrich 21,490-6)
* Sodium hydroxide
* 2,2’-Dipyridyl (Aldrich D21,630-5)
* Sodium tetrafluoroborate (Aldrich 20,221-5)

yes that's the website i was talking about. the chemicals all seem very hard to get. i've done some research and realise that there are many different organic materials and polymers used by different company's - so some must be easier and cheaper to get hold of than others?

There are reasons those specific chemicals are used -- just as there are reasons specific chemicals are used in making medicine. Everyone would *love* to find cheaper substitutes, and many pros have tried -- so odds are that this kit is either the cheapest you're going to find, or the cheapest that can be done at home with any degree of success/safety.