A high-mobility electron-transporting polymer for printed transistors

Nature. 2009 Feb 5;457(7230):679-86. doi: 10.1038/nature07727. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


Printed electronics is a revolutionary technology aimed at unconventional electronic device manufacture on plastic foils, and will probably rely on polymeric semiconductors for organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) fabrication. In addition to having excellent charge-transport characteristics in ambient conditions, such materials must meet other key requirements, such as chemical stability, large solubility in common solvents, and inexpensive solution and/or low-temperature processing. Furthermore, compatibility of both p-channel (hole-transporting) and n-channel (electron-transporting) semiconductors with a single combination of gate dielectric and contact materials is highly desirable to enable powerful complementary circuit technologies, where p- and n-channel OTFTs operate in concert. Polymeric complementary circuits operating in ambient conditions are currently difficult to realize: although excellent p-channel polymers are widely available, the achievement of high-performance n-channel polymers is more challenging. Here we report a highly soluble ( approximately 60 g l(-1)) and printable n-channel polymer exhibiting unprecedented OTFT characteristics (electron mobilities up to approximately 0.45-0.85 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1)) under ambient conditions in combination with Au contacts and various polymeric dielectrics. Several top-gate OTFTs on plastic substrates were fabricated with the semiconductor-dielectric layers deposited by spin-coating as well as by gravure, flexographic and inkjet printing, demonstrating great processing versatility. Finally, all-printed polymeric complementary inverters (with gain 25-65) have been demonstrated.