Controlling Electron and Hole Charge Injection in Ambipolar Organic Field-Effect Transistors by Self-Assembled Monolayers



Controlling contact resistance in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) is one of the major hurdles to achieve transistor scaling and dimensional reduction. In particular in the context of ambipolar and/or light-emitting OFETs it is a difficult challenge to obtain efficient injection of both electrons and holes from one injecting electrode such as gold since organic semiconductors have intrinsically large band gaps resulting in significant injection barrier heights for at least one type of carrier. Here, systematic control of electron and hole contact resistance in poly(9,9-di-n-octylfluorene-alt-benzothiadiazole) ambipolar OFETs using thiol-based self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) is demonstrated. In contrast to common believe, it is found that for a certain SAM the injection of both electrons and holes can be improved. This simultaneous enhancement of electron and hole injection cannot be explained by SAM-induced work-function modifications because the surface dipole induced by the SAM on the metal surface lowers the injection barrier only for one type of carrier, but increases it for the other. These investigations reveal that other key factors also affect contact resistance, including i) interfacial tunneling through the SAM, ii) SAM-induced modifications of interface morphology, and iii) the interface electronic structure. Of particular importance for top-gate OFET geometry is iv) the active polymer layer thickness that dominates the electrode/polymer contact resistance. Therefore, a consistent explanation of how SAM electrode modification is able to improve both electron and hole injection in ambipolar OFETs requires considering all mentioned factors.