Just a general observation: when your project’s BOM includes ytterbium metal, chances are pretty good that it’s something interesting. We’d say that making your own OLED displays at home definitely falls into that category.
Of course, the making of organic light-emitting diodes requires more than just a rare-earth metal, not least of which is the experience in the field that [Jeroen Vleggaar] brings to this project. Having worked on OLEDs at Philips for years, [Jeroen] is well-positioned to tackle the complex process, involving things like physical vapor deposition and the organic chemistry of coordinated quinolones. And that’s not to mention the quantum physics of it all, which is nicely summarized in the first ten minutes or so of the video below. From there it’s all about making a couple of OLED displays using photolithography and the aforementioned PVD to build up a sandwich of Alq3, an electroluminescent organic compound, on a substrate of ITO (indium tin oxide) glass. We especially appreciate the use of a resin 3D printer to create the photoresist masks, as well as the details on the PVD process.
The displays themselves look fantastic — at least for a while. The organic segments begin to oxidize rapidly from pinholes in the material; a cleanroom would fix that, but this was just a demonstration, after all. And as a bonus, the blue-green glow of [Jeroen]’s displays reminds us strongly of the replica Apollo DSKY display that [Ben Krasnow] built a while back.