Circularly polarized light detection by a chiral organic semiconductor transistor



Circularly polarized light is central to many photonic technologies, including circularly polarized ellipsometry-based tomography1,2, optical communication of spin information3 and quantum-based optical computing and information processing4,5. To develop these technologies to their full potential requires the realization of miniature, integrated devices that are capable of detecting the chirality or ‘handedness’ of circularly polarized light. Organic field-effect transistors, in which the active semiconducting layer is an organic material, allow the simple fabrication of ultrathin, compact devices6,7,8. Here we demonstrate a circularly polarized light-detecting organic field-effect transistor based on an asymmetrically pure, helically shaped chiral semiconducting molecule known as a helicene9. Importantly, we find a highly specific photoresponse to circularly polarized light, which is directly related to the handedness of the helicene molecule. We believe that this opens up the possibility for the detection of the chirality of circularly polarized light in a highly integrated photonic platform.

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Figure 1: Molecular structure and device architecture of the circularly polarized light-detecting helicene OFETs.
Figure 2: Physical morphology and circular dichroism spectra of helicene thin films.
Figure 3: Device characteristics (in the dark) of a helicene OFET.
Figure 4: Response of helicene OFETs to circularly polarized light.
Figure 5: Photoresponse of a helicene OFET to time-varying circularly polarized illumination.


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The authors thank the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for a Bright Ideas Award (grant EP/I014535/1 to M.J.F.) and the Leverhulme Trust (grant F/07058/BG) for funding this work.

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Y.Y. carried out thin film and device fabrication, transistor and phototransistor characterization, and morphological and spectroscopic studies. R.C.d.C. carried out the helicene synthetic preparation. A.J.C. and M.J.F. devised and supervised the study. M.J.F. obtained funding. Y.Y., A.J.C. and M.J.F. wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Matthew J. Fuchter or Alasdair J. Campbell.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Yang, Y., da Costa, R., Fuchter, M. et al. Circularly polarized light detection by a chiral organic semiconductor transistor. Nature Photon 7, 634–638 (2013).

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