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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jul 18;134(28):11726-33. doi: 10.1021/ja3036493. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

In-situ probe of gate dielectric-semiconductor interfacial order in organic transistors: origin and control of large performance sensitivities.

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Department of Chemistry and the Materials Research Center, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA.


Organic thin film transistor (OTFT) performance is highly materials interface-dependent, and dramatic performance enhancements can be achieved by properly modifying the semiconductor/gate dielectric interface. However, the origin of these effects is not well understood, as this is a classic "buried interface" problem that has traditionally been difficult to address. Here we address the question of how n-octadecylsilane (OTS)-derived self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on Si/SiO(2) gate dielectrics affect the OTFT performance of the archetypical small-molecule p-type semiconductors P-BTDT (phenylbenzo[d,d]thieno[3,2-b;4,5-b]dithiophene) and pentacene using combined in situ sum frequency generation spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and grazing incidence and reflectance X-ray scattering. The molecular order and orientation of the OTFT components at the dielectric/semiconductor interface is probed as a function of SAM growth mode in order to understand how this impacts the overlying semiconductor growth mode, packing, crystallinity, and carrier mobility, and hence, transistor performance. This understanding, using a new, humidity-specific growth procedure, leads to a reproducible, scalable process for highly ordered OTS SAMs, which in turn nucleates highly ordered p-type semiconductor film growth, and optimizes OTFT performance. Surprisingly, the combined data reveal that while SAM molecular order dramatically impacts semiconductor crystalline domain size and carrier mobility, it does not significantly influence the local orientation of the overlying organic semiconductor molecules.

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