Mechanical flexing of plastic substrates coated with thin film permeation barriers causes stress-induced cracks that may lead to device degradation. This phenomenon is of particular importance for organic light emitting diodes, an emerging display technology that can be implemented on flexible substrates but imposes stringent requirements on the barrier performance. We demonstrate a dry-etch-based method to highlight cracks in thin films of transparent materials and make them visible under a conventional optical microscope on samples in a neutral, relaxed position. This approach allows for rapid evaluation of the mechanical performance of thin film barriers on flexible substrates.
A method to evaluate mechanical performance of thin transparent films for flexible displays