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Patterning organic single-crystal transistor arrays


Field-effect transistors made of organic single crystals are ideal for studying the charge transport characteristics of organic semiconductor materials1. Their outstanding device performance2,3,4,5,6,7,8, relative to that of transistors made of organic thin films, makes them also attractive candidates for electronic applications such as active matrix displays and sensor arrays. These applications require minimal cross-talk between neighbouring devices. In the case of thin film systems, simple patterning of the active semiconductor layer9,10 minimizes cross-talk. But when using organic single crystals, the only approach currently available for creating arrays of separate devices is manual selection and placing of individual crystals—a process prohibitive for producing devices at high density and with reasonable throughput. In contrast, inorganic crystals have been grown in extended arrays11,12,13, and efficient and large-area fabrication of silicon crystalline islands with high mobilities for electronic applications has been reported14,15. Here we describe a method for effectively fabricating large arrays of single crystals of a wide range of organic semiconductor materials directly onto transistor source–drain electrodes. We find that film domains of octadecyltriethoxysilane microcontact-printed onto either clean Si/SiO2 surfaces or flexible plastic provide control over the nucleation of vapour-grown organic single crystals. This allows us to fabricate large arrays of high-performance organic single-crystal field-effect transistors with mobilities as high as 2.4 cm2 V-1 s-1 and on/off ratios greater than 107, and devices on flexible substrates that retain their performance after significant bending. These results suggest that our fabrication approach constitutes a promising step that might ultimately allow us to utilize high-performance organic single-crystal field-effect transistors for large-area electronics applications.

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Figure 1: Patterning of organic single crystals.
Figure 2: Controlling pentacene crystal nucleation.
Figure 3: Single-crystal transistor arrays on rigid substrates.
Figure 4: Flexible single-crystal transistor arrays.

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A.L.B. acknowledges a Bell Labs Graduate Research Fellowship. A.L.B., F.W., R.J.T. and Y.Y. acknowledge financial support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). S.C.B.M. acknowledges financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and Z.B. acknowledges partial support from the Stanford Center for Polymeric Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies (NSF-Center MRSEC), the Stanford School of Engineering, and a Sloan Research Fellowship. Author Contributions A.L.B. performed single-crystal patterning on substrates and FET devices, measurements on FET devices, and wrote most of the manuscript. S.C.B.M. elucidated the growth mechanism, performed AFM measurements, and wrote parts of the manuscript. M.M.L. assisted in sample preparation and assisted in device measurements and calculations. S.L. assisted in crystal patterning, device preparation, and performed SEM measurements. R.J.T. assisted in flexible device preparation, measurements and calculations. C.R. designed and fabricated the transistor array devices and PDMS stamp masters via lithography. M.E.R. assisted in early experiments and purified some of the organic source materials. Y.Y. provided use of laboratory space and instruments. F.W. provided feedback and suggestions on experiments. Z.B. conceptualized and directed the research project. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zhenan Bao.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Notes

This file contains Supplementary Notes with a more detailed description of the method, additional experimental data on the organic single crystals morphology and corresponding transistor performance, and supporting evidence for the proposed nucleation mechanism, including 20 new Supplementary Figures some of which are referenced from within the main text . (PDF 6243 kb)

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Briseno, A., Mannsfeld, S., Ling, M. et al. Patterning organic single-crystal transistor arrays. Nature 444, 913–917 (2006).

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