In a paper posted this week,* the team describes how a chemical pretreatment of electrical contacts can induce self-assembly of molecular crystals to both improve the performance of organic semiconductor devices and provide electrical isolation between devices.
Organic electronic devices are inching towards the market. Compounds with tongue-twisting names like “5,11-bis(triethylsilylethynyl) anthradithiophene” can be designed with many of the electrical properties of more conventional semiconductors. But unlike traditional semiconductors that require high-temperature processing steps, organic semiconductor devices can be manufactured at room temperature. They could be built on flexible polymers instead of rigid silicon wafers. Magazine-size displays that could be rolled up or folded to pocket size and plastic sheets that incorporate large arrays of detectors for medical monitoring or diagnostics in the field are just a couple of the tantalizing possibilities.
One unsolved problem is how to manufacture them efficiently and at low cost. Large areas can be coated rapidly with a thin film of the organic compound in solution, which dries to a semiconductor layer. But for big arrays like displays, that layer must be patterned into electrically isolated devices. Doing that requires one or more additional steps that are costly, time-consuming and/or difficult to do accurately.
The NIST team and their partners studied the organic version of a workhorse device—the field effect transistor (FET)—that commonly is used as a switch to, for example, turn pixels on and off in computer displays. The essential structure consists of two electrical contacts with a channel of semiconductor between them. The researchers found that by applying a specially tailored pretreatment compound to the contacts before applying the organic semiconductor solution, they could induce the molecules in solution to self-assemble into well-ordered crystals at the contact sites. These structures grow outwards to join across the FET channel in a way that provides good electrical properties at the FET site, but further away from the treated contacts the molecules dry in a more random, helter-skelter arrangement that has dramatically poorer properties—effectively providing the needed electrical isolation for each device without any additional processing steps. The work is an example of the merging of device structure and function that may enable low cost manufacturing, and an area where organic materials have important advantages.
In addition to its potential as a commercially important manufacturing process, the authors note, this chemically engineered self-ordering of organic semiconductor molecules can be used to create test structures for fundamental studies of charge transport and other important properties of a range of organic electronic systems.
* D.J. Gundlach, J.E. Royer, S.K. Park, S. Subramanian, O.D. Jurchescu, B.H. Hamadani, A.J. Moad, R.J. Kline, L.C. Teague, O. Kirillov, C.A. Richter, J.G. Kushmerick, L.J. Richter, S.R. Parkin, T.N. Jackson and J.E. Anthony. Contact-induced crystallinity for high-performance soluble acene-based transistors and circuits. Nature Materials Advanced Online Publication, 17 February 2008.
Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
Summer heat for the winter
10.01.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Illinois team advances GaN-on-Silicon for scalable high electron mobility transistors
10.01.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News
16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering
16.01.2017 | Life Sciences