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Keywords:

  • ambipolar transistor;
  • emerging materials;
  • organic semiconductor;
  • carbon nanotubes;
  • electrolyte gating

Ambipolar or bipolar transistors are transistors in which both holes and electrons are mobile inside the conducting channel. This device allows switching among several states: the hole-dominated on-state, the off-state, and the electron-dominated on-state. In the past year, it has attracted great interest in exotic semiconductors, such as organic semiconductors, nanostructured materials, and carbon nanotubes. The ability to utilize both holes and electrons inside one device opens new possibilities for the development of more compact complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits, and new kinds of optoelectronic device, namely, ambipolar light-emitting transistors. This progress report highlights the recent progresses in the field of ambipolar transistors, both from the fundamental physics and application viewpoints. Attention is devoted to the challenges that should be faced for the realization of ambipolar transistors with different material systems, beginning with the understanding of the importance of interface modification, which heavily affects injections and trapping of both holes and electrons. The recent development of advanced gating applications, including ionic liquid gating, that open up more possibility to realize ambipolar transport in materials in which one type of charge carrier is highly dominant is highlighted. Between the possible applications of ambipolar field-effect transistors, we focus on ambipolar light-emitting transistors. We put this new device in the framework of its prospective for general lightings, embedded displays, current-driven laser, as well as for photonics–electronics interconnection.