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      Multilayer Aluminum Thin Films as Effective Encapsulation for Flexible Organic Devices

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      WVTR, Thin Film Encapsulation, Aluminum, Electrode, Calcium Test, Seed, Pinhole

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          Thin film organic devices like organic solar cells require encapsulation against water vapor. Depending on the device, water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) in the range of $10^{-5}\cdot g/(m^2\cdot day)$ are needed for lifetimes of at least five years. In this work we aim at improving the encapsulation properties of opaque vacuum-evaporated aluminum back-electrodes to fulfill these barrier requirements. Water diffusion through aluminum layers is defect-driven. To reduce defect densities, the growt h behavior of the aluminum layer is modified by underlying metallic seed-layers which have shown improved performance in transparent metal thin-film electrodes. Significant improvement of WVTR can be achieved with multilayer structures. Thin interlayers that decouple the defect positions in consecutive aluminum layers provide long and tortuous diffusion-paths for water-molecules. In our study, we use the electrical calcium-test to investigate stacks of aluminum layers with various interlayers with respect to steady-state WVTR and lag-time. The interlayers consist of different planarizing, diffusion-limiting, or getter materials that absorb water-molecules as they diffuse through the barrier. These optimized aluminum multilayers are promising candidates for organic thin-film encapsulation.

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