We have evaluated a method to investigate killer impurities in vacuum chambers that affect the lifetimes of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) processed in these chambers. In addition to chambers for the deposition of organic and metal films, an exposure chamber was installed to expose the OLEDs to impurities and residual water in a vacuum chamber during device fabrication. We studied a method to investigate the effects of these vacuum chamber impurities after establishing the reproducibility of the device lifetimes. These device lifetimes were affected by the cleanliness of the exposure chamber. Increased exposure times led to shorter device lifetimes, even if the contact angle in the exposure chamber was reduced to less than 5° using plasma cleaning. Furthermore, the device lifetime did not degrade when the partial pressure of water within the exposure chamber was reduced using a cryotrap. We were also able to evaluate the Kapton tape and vacuum greases that were used and determined whether they affected the device lifetime. These results suggest that the influence of residual water and impurities can be separated and it would then be possible to evaluate the influence of the impurities alone on the device lifetime.
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