Article

Optically switchable transistors by simple incorporation of photochromic systems into small-molecule semiconducting matrices

  • Nature Communications 6, Article number: 6330 (2015)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms7330
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Abstract

The fabrication of multifunctional high-performance organic thin-film transistors as key elements in future logic circuits is a major research challenge. Here we demonstrate that a photoresponsive bi-functional field-effect transistor with carrier mobilities exceeding 0.2 cm2 V−1 s−1 can be developed by incorporating photochromic molecules into an organic semiconductor matrix via a single-step solution processing deposition of a two components blend. Tuning the interactions between the photochromic diarylethene system and the organic semiconductor is achieved via ad-hoc side functionalization of the diarylethene. Thereby, a large-scale phase-segregation can be avoided and superior miscibility is provided, while retaining optimal π–π stacking to warrant efficient charge transport and to attenuate the effect of photoinduced switching on the extent of current modulation. This leads to enhanced electrical performance of transistors incorporating small conjugated molecules as compared with polymeric semiconductors. These findings are of interest for the development of high-performing optically gated electronic devices.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr Stefan Mannsfeld for insightful discussions and suggestions. This work was financially supported by EC through the Marie-Curie ITNs SUPERIOR (PITN-GA-2009-238177) and GENIUS (PITN-2010-GA264 694), as well as IEF RESPONSIVE (PIEF-GA-2012-326665), the ERC project SUPRAFUNCTION (GA-257305), the International Centre for Frontier Research in Chemistry (icFRC), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche by the LabEx project Chemistry of Complex Systems (ANR-10-LABX-0026_CSC), a concerted research action of the French Community of Belgian (ARC project N°20061), the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS, BTBT project N°2.4565.11) and the Walloon Region (WCS project N°1117306). S.H. acknowledges generous support by the European Research Council (via ERC-2012-STG_308117 ‘Light4Function’), as well as the German Research Foundation (via SFB 658).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. ISIS and icFRC, Université de Strasbourg and CNRS, 8 allée Gaspard Monge, 67000 Strasbourg, France

    • Mirella El Gemayel
    • , Karl Börjesson
    • , James A. Hutchison
    • , Emanuele Orgiu
    •  & Paolo Samorì
  2. Department of Chemistry IRIS Adlershof, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Brook-Taylor-Straße 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany

    • Martin Herder
    •  & Stefan Hecht
  3. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • Duc T. Duong
    •  & Alberto Salleo
  4. Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères, CP 206/01, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

    • Christian Ruzié
    • , Guillaume Schweicher
    •  & Yves Geerts

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Contributions

P.S. conceived the experiment and designed the study. E.O. and P.S. designed the device experiments. M.H. and S.H. designed the DAEs and carried out their synthesis and electrochemical characterization. K.B. and M.H. performed the photochemical studies. C.R., G.S. and Y.G. synthesized the BTBT and performed the differential scanning calorimetry measurements. D.T.D. and A.S. executed the GIXD measurements. J.A.H. carried out the scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy. M.E.G., E.O. and P.S. performed the device experiments. M.E.G. and P.S. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed results and contributed to the interpretation of data, as well as contributed to editing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Stefan Hecht or Emanuele Orgiu or Paolo Samorì.

Supplementary information

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  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1-33, Supplementary Tables 1-4, Supplementary Notes 1-4 Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary References

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