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Stretchable colour-sensitive quantum dot nanocomposites for shape-tunable multiplexed phototransistor arrays

Abstract

High-performance photodetecting materials with intrinsic stretchability and colour sensitivity are key requirements for the development of shape-tunable phototransistor arrays. Another challenge is the proper compensation of optical aberrations and noises generated by mechanical deformation and fatigue accumulation in a shape-tunable phototransistor array. Here we report rational material design and device fabrication strategies for an intrinsically stretchable, multispectral and multiplexed 5 × 5 × 3 phototransistor array. Specifically, a unique spatial distribution of size-tuned quantum dots, blended in a semiconducting polymer within an elastomeric matrix, was formed owing to surface energy mismatch, leading to highly efficient charge transfer. Such intrinsically stretchable quantum-dot-based semiconducting nanocomposites enable the shape-tunable and colour-sensitive capabilities of the phototransistor array. We use a deep neural network algorithm for compensating optical aberrations and noises, which aids the precise detection of specific colour patterns (for example, red, green and blue patterns) both under its flat state and hemispherically curved state (radius of curvature of 18.4 mm).

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Fig. 1: The isQDSN for the intrinsically stretchable phototransistor array.
Fig. 2: Material characterization of the isQDSN film.
Fig. 3: Characterization of the intrinsically stretchable phototransistor.
Fig. 4: High-density imaging demonstration using the intrinsically stretchable phototransistor array on a curved surface with deep learning algorithms.

Data availability

Source data are provided with this paper. All data that support the findings of this study are included in the main text and Supplementary Information. Any additional materials and data are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

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The source codes are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the following funding sources: Institute for Basic Science (IBS-R006-D1, IBS-R006-A1, and IBS-R015-D1) (J.-K.S., J.K., J.Y., J.H.K., H.J., K.K., S.-H.S., S.Y., H.C., J.J., W.B., S.L., M.L., H.J.K., M.S., T.H., D.-H.K. and D.S.); the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (no. 2020R1C1C1005567) (D.S.); and the Basic Science Research Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Education (2021R1I1A1A01060389) (J.H.K.).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

J.-K.S., J.K., J.Y., J.H.K., T.H., D.-H.K. and D.S. designed the experiments, analysed the data and wrote the paper. J.-K.S., J.K., J.Y. and J.H.K. fabricated the phototransistor array and performed the characterization of individual devices and multiplexed arrays. J.Y. and K.K. developed the deep learning algorithm. H.J. performed the theoretical analysis of the mechanics. All the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Taeghwan Hyeon, Dae-Hyeong Kim or Donghee Son.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Nanotechnology thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 Depth-XPS analyses, high-resolution cross-sectional TEM analyses, and AFM analyses of isQDSNs with various QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios.

Depth-XPS analyses, high-resolution cross-sectional TEM analyses, and AFM analyses of isQDSNs with various QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios. The ratios are a, 4:1:1, b, 1:0.25:1, c, 1:4:1, and d, 0.25:1:1.

Extended Data Fig. 2 Transfer characteristics of phototransistors employing isQDSNs with various QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios, under various applied strains.

Transfer characteristics of phototransistors employing isQDSNs with various QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios, under various applied strains. The QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios are a, 4:1:1, b, 1:0.25:1, c, 1:4:1, d, 0.25:1:1, and e, 1:1:1. The dimensions of the phototransistors are Lch = 150 μm and Wch = 1.5 mm.

Extended Data Fig. 3 Strain and composition dependent change of device characteristics.

Strain and composition dependent change of device characteristics. Changes in the a, on-photocurrent, b, photoresponsivity, and c, photodetectivity of the phototransistors employing isQDSNs with various QD:PDPP2T:SEBS ratios, under various applied strains (Lch = 150 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm).

Extended Data Fig. 4 1,000 cyclic stretching test results at 30% strain.

1,000 cyclic stretching test results at 30% strain. a, Photographs of the 5 × 5 × 3 phototransistor array during the stretching test. Scale bar, 10 mm. b, Photocurrents of the phototransistor taken after every 200 stretching cycles with 30% strain, until 1,000 cycles. c, Photograph of the 5 × 5 × 3 phototransistor array after stretching test, denoting the regions for cross-sectional SEM analyses. Scale bar, 10 mm. d, Cross-sectional SEM images of the 5 × 5 × 3 phototransistor array, taken from the regions of red- and blue-dotted boxes in c. Scale bar, 100 μm (red dot: horizontal axis, blue dot: vertical axis). e, Line scan EDS result of the gold electrode in red-dotted box region.

Extended Data Fig. 5 Transfer characteristics of phototransistors fabricated on rigid SiO2 substrates with scaled-down channel lengths (Lch = 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm), demonstrating high device-to-device uniformity and enhanced photocurrent generations.

Transfer characteristics of phototransistors fabricated on rigid SiO2 substrates with scaled-down channel lengths (Lch = 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm), demonstrating high device-to-device uniformity and enhanced photocurrent generations.

Extended Data Fig. 6 Intrinsically stretchable phototransistor array with reduced channel lengths.

Intrinsically stretchable phototransistor array with reduced channel lengths. a, Schematic illustration of device fabrication using photolithography. b, Schematic illustration of the 5 × 5 phototransistor array. c, Photographic image of a 5 × 5 phototransistor array (left) and magnified image of a single phototransistor in the red-dotted box (right) (Lch = 10 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm). d, Simulation results showing the strain induced in the phototransistors at the applied strain of 30%. e, Photographic images taken during the photocurrent measurements at flat (left) and stretched (right) states. f, Cumulative data of normalized photocurrents measured during flat and stretched modes. g, Comparison between photocurrents of the phototransistors fabricated using shadow masking and photolithography.

Extended Data Fig. 7 Different types of size-tunable QDs and their absorption properties.

Different types of size-tunable QDs and their absorption properties. a, TEM images of different QDs used to develop isQDSNs for tunable colour selectivity. b, Energy band diagram of different QDs. c, d, Absorption spectra of different QDs.

Extended Data Fig. 8 Phototransistors based on 5 different types of isQDSNs for wide-spectrum photodetection.

Phototransistors based on 5 different types of isQDSNs for wide-spectrum photodetection. a, Photoresponses of the phototransistors using the different isQDSNs, fabricated on rigid SiO2 substrates (Lch = 150 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm). b, Photoresponses of the stretchable phototransistors using different isQDSNs under various strains (Lch = 150 μm, Wch = 1.5 mm). c, Light responses of the stretchable phototransistors using different isQDSNs.

Extended Data Fig. 9 Schematic illustrations of the PDMS lens array fabrication and photographs of the experimental setup for measuring photocurrents with lights irradiated at various incident angles, without integration of the lens array.

a, Schematic illustrations of the PDMS lens array fabrication and b, Photographs of the experimental setup for measuring photocurrents with lights irradiated at various incident angles, without integration of the lens array.

Extended Data Fig. 10 FEA results of the phototransistor array during mechanical deformation, normalized photocurrents, photoresponsivities, and photodetectivites of phototransistors, and the continuous strain contour in R, G, B layers during mechanical deformation.

a, FEA result of the 5 × 5 × 3 phototransistor array showing the strain exerted in each R, G, B layer as an exploded view, during mechanical deformation by mounting on the custom-built stage and applying strain. b, Normalized photocurrents, photoresponsivities, and photodetectivities of R, G, B phototransistors before and after applying 10% strain. c, The continuous strain contour in R, G, B layers during mechanical deformation by mounting on the custom-built stage and applying strain.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–8, Figs. 1–32 and Tables 1–5.

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Song, JK., Kim, J., Yoon, J. et al. Stretchable colour-sensitive quantum dot nanocomposites for shape-tunable multiplexed phototransistor arrays. Nat. Nanotechnol. 17, 849–856 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01160-x

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