We report studies focusing on the nature of trap states present in single layer ITO/poly(phenylene vinylene)/Al light emitting diodes. At high applied bias the IV characteristics from 11 to 290 K can be successfully modelled by space charge limited current (SCLC) theory with an exponential trap distribution, giving a trap density Ht of 4(±2) × 1017 cm-3, μp between 10-6 and 5 × 10-8 cm2 V-1 s-1 and a characteristic energy Et of 0.15 eV at high temperatures. The transient conductance follows a power-law relationship with time whose decay rate decreases with decreasing temperature. This can be directly related to the emptying of the trap distribution found in the SCLC analysis. Due to variations in structurer conformation and environment, the polymer LUMO and HOMO density of states form Gaussian distributions of chain sites. The deep sites in the tail of the distributions are the observed traps for both positive and negative carriers. The same sites dominate the photo- and electroluminescence emission. This implies that the emissive layer in organic LED's should be made as structurally disordered as possible. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.