• charge transfer state;
  • efficiency roll-off;
  • exciton dynamics;
  • extrafluorescence;
  • fluorescence;
  • intersystem crossing;
  • OLED;
  • organic light-emitting devices;
  • phosphorescence;
  • quantum yield;
  • spin-mixing;
  • thermally activated


Excited states of organic molecules (excitons) are the heart of any organic electroluminescent device. They mediate the conversion of injected charges – electrons and holes – into photons. Phosphorescent emission originating from triplet excitons is especially important, as it is to date the only general route to enable unity charge-to-photon conversion efficiencies. In this paper, we discuss the key aspects of excitons, following the excited state lifecycle. First, we review fundamentals of singlet and triplet exciton formation in organic semiconductors, followed by a discussion of concepts that aim to alter the singlet-to-triplet formation rates to enable higher electroluminescence yields in the fluorescence manifold. Subsequently, we focus on the exciton distribution within the organic semiconductor material during its lifetime. The processes involved ultimately determine organic light-emitting diode (OLED) performance and are especially key in the development of concepts for white emission, where precise balance of the exciton between different emitter species control the emitted color. We close this paper with discussion of non-linear effects at high excitation levels that, to date, limit the high brightness efficiency of phosphorescent OLEDs.