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Keywords:

  • contact resistance;
  • field-effect mobility;
  • morphology;
  • organic field-effect transistors;
  • polythiophene

Abstract

The planarization of bottom-contact organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) resulting in dramatic improvement in the nanomorphology and an associated enhancement in charge injection and transport is reported. Planar OFETs based on regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (rr-P3HT) are fabricated wherein the Au bottom-contacts are recessed completely in the gate-dielectric. Normal OFETs having a conventional bottom-contact configuration with 50-nm-high contacts are used for comparison purpose. A modified solvent-assisted drop-casting process is utilized to form extremely thin rr-P3HT films. This process is critical for direct visualization of the effect of planarization on the polymer morphology. Atomic force micrographs (AFM) show that in a normal OFET the step between the surface of the contacts and the gate dielectric disrupts the self-assembly of the rr-P3HT film, resulting in poor morphology at the contact edges. The planarization of contacts results in notable improvement of the nanomorphology of rr-P3HT, resulting in lower resistance to charge injection. However, an improvement in field-effect mobility is observed only at short channel lengths. AFM shows the presence of well-ordered nanofibrils extending over short channel lengths. At longer channel lengths the presence of grain boundaries significantly minimizes the effect of improvement in contact geometry as the charge transport becomes channel-limited.