Tips pentacene crystal alignment for improving performance of solution processed organic thin film transistors

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

A newly-developed p-type organic semiconductor 6,13-bis (triisopropylsilylethynyl) pentacene (TIPS pentacene) demonstrates various advantages such as high mobility, air stability and solution processibility, but at the same time its application is restricted by major issues, such as crystal misorientation and performance variation of organic thin-film transistors (OTFTs). This dissertation demonstrates several different approaches to address these issues. As a result, both crystal orientation and areal coverage can be effectively improved, leading to an enhancement of average mobility and performance consistency of OTFTs. Chapter 1 presents an introduction and background of this dissertation. Chapter 2 explores the usage of inorganic silica nanoparticles to manipulate the morphology of TIPS pentacene thin films and the performance of solution-processed organic OTFTs. The resultant drop-cast films yield improved morphological uniformity at ~10% SiO2 loading, which also leads to a 3-fold increase in average mobility and nearly 4-times reduction in the ratio of standard deviation of mobility (μStdev) to average mobility (μAvg). The experimental results suggest that the SiO2 nanoparticles mostly aggregate at TIPS pentacene grain boundaries, and that 10% nanoparticle concentration effectively reduces the undesirable crystal misorientation without considerably compromising TIPS pentacene crystallinity. Chapter 3 discusses the utilization of air flow to effectively reduce the TIPS pentacene crystal anisotropy and enhance performance consistency in OTFTs. Under air-flow navigation (AFN), TIPS pentacene forms thin films with improved crystal orientation and increased areal coverage, which subsequently lead to a four-fold increase of average hole mobility and one order of magnitude enhancement in performance consistency. Chapter 4 investigates the critical roles of lateral and vertical phase separation in the performance of the next-generation organic and hybrid electronic devices. A novel method is demonstrated here to switch between lateral and vertical phase separation in semiconducting TIPS pentacene/ polymer blend films by simply varying the alkyl length of the polyacrylate polymer component. The phase separation modes depend on intermolecular interactions between small molecule TIPS pentacene and polymer additives. The blend film with a dominant vertical phase separation exhibits a significant enhancement in average mobility and performance consistency of organic OTFTs. Chapter 5 demonstrates an effective approach to improve both charge transport and performance consistency in solution-processed OTFTs by blending TIPS pentacene with a series of small-molecule additives: 4-butylbenzoic acid (BBA), 4-hexylbenzoic acid (HBA), and 4-octylbenzoic acid (OBA). These three small molecules share a benzoic acid moiety, but have different length of hydrophobic tails. The self-assembled interfacial layer of small molecules on the gate oxide surface leads to uniform deposition of TIPS pentacene crystal seeds and facilitates TIPS pentacene to grow along the tilted orientation of substrate, which results in a film of enhanced crystal orientation and areal coverage. OTFTs based on TIPS pentacene/small molecule blends demonstrate greatly improved average hole mobility and performance consistency, which correlates with the length of hydrophobic tail of the small-molecule additives. Chapter 6 summarizes the conclusions of this dissertation and the related future work.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Electrical engineering