The recent fabrication of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from conjugated polymers1,2 demonstrates the technological potential of this class of electronic materials. A variety of colours are possible, because the wavelength of luminescence emission can be chemically tuned during synthesis 1-4. In addition, the mechanical properties of polymers suggest that light-emitting structures can be made that are more flexible than their inorganic counterparts, provided appropriate materials can be found for the substrate and electrodes. Here we report the fabrication of a fully flexible LED using poly(ethylene terephthalate) as the substrate, soluble poly-aniline as the hole-injecting electrode, a substituted poly(1,4-phenylene-vinylene) as the electroluminescent layer and calcium as the electron-injecting top contract. The structure is mechanically robust and may be sharply bent without failure. The LED is easily visible under room lighting and has an external quantum efficiency of about 1%. With a turn-on voltage for light emission of 2-3 V, the 'plastic' LED demonstrates that this unique combination of optical, electrical and mechanical properties can be used to make novel structures that are compatible with conventional devices.
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