We studied the characteristics of organic light emitting diode (OLED) devices containing two-dimensional (2D) SiO2/SiNx photonic crystal (PC) layers. The finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method was employed for the design and analysis of the PC OLED. Based on the design parameters derived from the FDTD calculations, a 2D PC layer was introduced on the glass substrate of a typical OLED structure by two-step irradiated hologram lithography and reactive ion etching. Experiments showed that incorporation of the PC layer improved the light extraction efficiency by over 50% compared to the conventional OLED, without noticeable degradation in electrical characteristics, under typical operating conditions. This improvement originates from the liberation of the photons trapped in the high-index guiding layers. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.