SEQUOIA will make OLEDs super efficient

February 4, 2022

NWO has confirmed the official funding of the Open Technology proposal SEQUOIA (Suppressing Exciton Quenching in OLEDs: an Integrated Approach). The total budget is 900K. 3 PhDs will work on the project: 2 in Eindhoven and 1 in Amsterdam.

Foldable OLED display. Source:

Organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, are nowadays found in the majority of smart phone displays and are making a spectacular entry in television displays. They are attractive because of their color vividness, high contrast ratio and low power consumption. They also offer completely new possibilities like foldable displays, used in high-end smart phone displays. Nevertheless, there are still important scientific and technical problems to be solved. The project SEQUOIA focusses on the important problem of the drop in efficiency with increasing brightness.

This drop is due to unwanted interactions among excitons (the species that should emit the light when they decay) and between excitons and charges, both leading to detrimental exciton `quenching’. In combined experimental-theoretical research at the TU/e and the VU Amsterdam we will tackle this problem, working together with the OLED materials manufacturer Merck and the simulation software companies SCM and Simbeyond.

Elimination of exciton quenching

The main challenge of SEQUOIA is to develop a rational strategy for suppressing exciton quenching in OLEDs. Scientifically this will involve finding out the primary causes for exciton quenching. Technologically it will involve developing (combinations of) materials and new OLED designs where this quenching is eliminated or suppressed.

In SEQUOIA we will develop an experimentally validated computational toolset of quantum-chemical calculations and kinetic Monte Carlo simulations for the search of OLED materials and structures with suppressed exciton quenching.

Prolonged battery lifetime for mobile devices

The research is highly relevant for improving the efficiency of OLEDs, further reducing their energy consumption. For mobile devices, where the display is the most energy-consuming part, it will mean prolonged battery lifetime. Since the prevention of exciton quenching will also prolong the lifetime of the materials used the relevance is thus also in reduced use of scarce materials.

Combine technology with sustainability

One of the most important missions of applied science nowadays is combining the advance of technology with sustainability. Professor Peter Bobbert believes it is important to contribute to that mission via SEQUOIA. “But even more important for me is the education of young scientists that can keep on contributing to that mission. We still have a PhD opening on the project”.



Main applicant: Peter Bobbert. Co-applicants: Luuk Visscher of VU Amsterdam and Reinder Coehoorn. The partners from industry are: Merck, SCM and Simbeyond.