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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jan 20;106(3):691-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0807596106. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

Photoresponsive nanoscale columnar transistors.

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  • 1Center for Nanochemistry, State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable and Stable Species, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, People's Republic of China.


This study reports a general methodology for making stable high-performance photosensitive field effect transistors (FET) from self-assembled columns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by using single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) as point contacts. In particular, the molecules used in this work are liquid crystalline materials of tetra(dodecyloxy)hexabenzocoronenes (HBCs) that are able to self-organize into columnar nanostructures with a diameter similar to that of SWNTs and then form nanoscale columnar transistors. To rule out potential artifacts, 2 different structural approaches were used to construct devices. One approach is to coat thin films of HBCs onto the devices with the SWNT-metal junctions protected by hydrogensilsesquioxane resin (HSQ), and the other is to place a droplet of HBC exactly on the nanogaps of SWNT electrodes. Both types of devices showed typical FET behaviors, indicating that SWNT-molecule-SWNT nanojunctions are responsible for the electrical characteristics of the devices. After thermally annealing the devices, HBC molecules assembled into columnar structures and formed more efficacious transistors with increased current modulation and higher gate efficiency. More interestingly, when the devices were exposed to visible light, photocurrents with an on/off ratio of >3 orders of magnitude were observed. This study demonstrates that stimuli-responsive nanoscale transistors have the potential applications in ultrasensitive devices for environmental sensing and solar energy harvesting.

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