Optically switchable transistor via energy-level phototuning in a bicomponent organic semiconductor

Nat Chem. 2012 Jun 24;4(8):675-9. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1384.


Organic semiconductors are suitable candidates for printable, flexible and large-area electronics. Alongside attaining an improved device performance, to confer a multifunctional nature to the employed materials is key for organic-based logic applications. Here we report on the engineering of an electronic structure in a semiconducting film by blending two molecular components, a photochromic diarylethene derivative and a poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) matrix, to attain phototunable and bistable energy levels for the P3HT's hole transport. As a proof-of-concept we exploited this blend as a semiconducting material in organic thin-film transistors. The device illumination at defined wavelengths enabled reversible tuning of the diarylethene's electronic states in the blend, which resulted in modulation of the output current. The device photoresponse was found to be in the microsecond range, and thus on a technologically relevant timescale. This modular blending approach allows for the convenient incorporation of various molecular components, which opens up perspectives on multifunctional devices and logic circuits.