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ACS Nano. 2012 Jan 24;6(1):539-48. doi: 10.1021/nn203874a. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Enhanced ambipolar charge injection with semiconducting polymer/carbon nanotube thin films for light-emitting transistors.

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Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom.


We investigate the influence of small amounts of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) dispersed in polyfluorenes such as poly(9,9-di-n-octylfluorene-alt-benzothiadiazole (F8BT) and poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene) (F8) on device characteristics of bottom contact/top gate ambipolar light-emitting field-effect transistors (LEFETs) based on these conjugated polymers. We find that the presence of SWNTs within the semiconducting layer at concentrations below the percolation limit significantly increases both hole and electron injection, even for a large band gap semiconductor like F8, without leading to significant luminescence quenching of the conjugated polymer. As a result of the reduced contact resistance and lower threshold voltages, larger ambipolar currents and thus brighter light emission are observed. We examine possible mechanisms of this effect such as energy level alignment, reduced bulk resistance above the contacts, and field-enhanced injection at the nanotube tips. The observed ambipolar injection improvement is applicable to most conjugated polymers in staggered transistor configurations or similar organic electronic devices where injection barriers are an issue.

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