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Title: Mechanistic Studies of Charge Injection from Metallic Electrodes into Organic Semiconductors Mediated by Ionic Functionalities: Final Report

Metal-organic semiconductor interfaces are important because of their ubiquitous role in determining the performance of modern electronics such as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), fuel cells, batteries, field effect transistors (FETs), and organic solar cells. Interfaces between metal electrodes required for external wiring to the device and underlying organic structures directly affect the charge carrier injection/collection efficiency in organic-based electronic devices primarily due to the mismatch between energy levels in the metal and organic semiconductor. Environmentally stable and cost-effective electrode materials, such as aluminum and gold typically exhibit high potential barriers for charge carriers injection into organic devices leading to increased operational voltages in OLEDs and FETs and reduced charge extraction in photovoltaic devices. This leads to increased power consumption by the device, reduced overall efficiency, and decreased operational lifetime. These factors represent a significant obstacle for development of next generation of cheap and energy-efficient components based on organic semiconductors. It has been noticed that introduction of organic materials with conjugated backbone and ionic pendant groups known as conjugated poly- and oligoelectrolytes (CPEs and COEs), enables one to reduce the potential barriers at the metal-organic interface and achieve more efficient operation of a device, however exact mechanisms of the phenomenonmore » have not been understood. The goal of this project was to delineate the function of organic semiconductors with ionic groups as electron injection layers. The research incorporated a multidisciplinary approach that encompassed the creation of new materials, novel processing techniques, examination of fundamental electronic properties and the incorporation of the resulting knowledgebase into development of novel organic electronic devices with increased efficiency, environmental stability, and reduced cost. During the execution of the project, main efforts were focused on the synthesis of new charge-bearing organic materials, such as CPEs and COEs, and block copolymers with neutral and ionic segments, studies of mechanisms responsible for the charge injection modulation in devices with ionic interlayers, and use of naturally occurring charged molecules for creation of enhanced devices. The studies allowed PIs to demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed approach for the improvement of operational parameters in model OLED and FET systems resulting in increased efficiency, decreased contact resistance, and possibility to use stable metals for fabrication of device electrodes. The successful proof-of-the-principle results potentially promise development of light-weight, low fabrication cost devices which can be used in consumer applications such as displays, solar cells, and printed electronic devices. Fundamental mechanisms responsible for the phenomena observed have been identified thus advancing the fundamental knowledgebase.« less
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  1. UCSB
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of California Santa Barbara
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE conjugated polyelectrolites, conjugated oligoelectrolytes, charge injection, metal-organic interface, DNA