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Integrated complementary inverters and ring oscillators based on vertical-channel dual-base organic thin-film transistors


Lateral-channel dual-gate organic thin-film transistors have been used in pseudo complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) inverters to control switching voltage. However, their relatively long channel lengths, combined with the low charge carrier mobility of organic semiconductors, typically leads to slow inverter operation. Vertical-channel dual-gate organic thin-film transistors are a promising alternative because of their short channel lengths, but the lack of appropriate p- and n-type devices has limited the development of complementary inverter circuits. Here, we show that organic vertical n-channel permeable single- and dual-base transistors, and vertical p-channel permeable base transistors can be used to create integrated complementary inverters and ring oscillators. The vertical dual-base transistors enable switching voltage shift and gain enhancement. The inverters exhibit small switching time constants at 10 MHz, and the seven-stage complementary ring oscillators exhibit short signal propagation delays of 11 ns per stage at a supply voltage of 4 V.

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Fig. 1: Fabrication of n- and p-type vertical organic transistors.
Fig. 2: Static transistor characteristics.
Fig. 3: Switching voltage control.
Fig. 4: Static and dynamic inverter characteristics.
Fig. 5: Dynamic performance of integrated seven-stage complementary ring oscillators.

Data availability

All the data that support this study are included in this article and its Supplementary Information files. Source data are provided with this paper.


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E.G. and S.X. acknowledge financial support from the China Scholarship Council (nos. 201706890003 and 201706070125). Z.W. acknowledges funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities. K.L. and F.D. gratefully acknowledge support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) under grants LE747/52-2 (SPP FflexCom/Flexartwo) and LE747/62-1. Furthermore, use of the HZDR Ion Beam Center TEM facilities and the funding of TEM Talos by the German Federal Ministry of Education of Research (BMBF; grant no. 03SF0451) in the framework of HEMCP are gratefully acknowledged. We thank H. Tang from Leibniz IFW Dresden for her assistance with optical imaging. We also thank Y. Gao from TU Dresden for her help with ring oscillator measurements.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



H.K. and K.L. proposed and supervised the project. E.G., Z.W. and H.K. designed the experiment. E.G., S.X., F.D. and S.-J.W. performed the device characterization. R.H. carried out the TEM analysis. E.G., Z.W., H.K. and K.L. analysed the data and co-wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Erjuan Guo, Zhongbin Wu or Hans Kleemann.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Nature Electronics thanks Mario Caironi and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–6, figure captions and discussion, and Tables 1 and 2.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 2

Transfer and output curves of an n-type OPDBT and p-type OPBT, respectively.

Source Data Fig. 3

Static voltage transfer characteristics.

Source Data Fig. 4

Static voltage transfer curves and dynamic performance.

Source Data Fig. 5

Dynamic response of ring oscillators at 6 V, and delay time per stage.

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Guo, E., Xing, S., Dollinger, F. et al. Integrated complementary inverters and ring oscillators based on vertical-channel dual-base organic thin-film transistors. Nat Electron 4, 588–594 (2021).

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