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Reduced Graphene Oxide Thin Films as Ultrabarriers for Organic Electronics

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Abstract

Encapsulation of electronic devices based on organic materials that are prone to degradation even under normal atmospheric conditions with hermetic barriers is crucial for increasing their lifetime. A challenge is to develop ultrabarriers that are impermeable, flexible, and preferably transparent. Another important requirement is that they must be compatible with organic electronics fabrication schemes (i.e., must be solution processable, deposited at room temperature and be chemically inert). Here, a lifetime increase of 1300 h for poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) films encapsulated by uniform and continuous thin (≈10 nm) films of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) is reported. This level of protection against oxygen/water vapor diffusion is substantially better than conventional polymeric barriers such as Cytop, which degrades after only 350 h despite being 400 nm thick. Analysis using atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy suggest that the superior oxygen gas/moisture barrier property of rGO is due to the close interlayer distance packing and absence of pinholes within the impermeable sheets. These material properties can be correlated to the enhanced lag time of 500 h. The results provide new insight for the design of high-performance and solution-processable transparent ultrabarriers for a wide range of encapsulation applications.

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