Theses Doctoral

Architectures for Improved Organic Semiconductor Devices

Beck, Jonathan

Advancements in the microelectronics industry have brought increasing performance and decreasing prices to a wide range of users. Conventional silicon-based electronics have followed Moore's law to provide an ever-increasing integrated circuit transistor density, which drives processing power, solid-state memory density, and sensor technologies. As shrinking conventional integrated circuits became more challenging, researchers began exploring electronics with the potential to penetrate new applications with a low price of entry: "Electronics everywhere." The new generation of electronics is thin, light, flexible, and inexpensive.
Organic electronics are part of the new generation of thin-film electronics, relying on the synthetic flexibility of carbon molecules to create organic semiconductors, absorbers, and emitters which perform useful tasks. Organic electronics can be fabricated with low energy input on a variety of novel substrates, including inexpensive plastic sheets. The potential ease of synthesis and fabrication of organic-based devices means that organic electronics can be made at very low cost. Successfully demonstrated organic semiconductor devices include photovoltaics, photodetectors, transistors, and light emitting diodes.
Several challenges that face organic semiconductor devices are low performance relative to conventional devices, long-term device stability, and development of new organic-compatible processes and materials. While the absorption and emission performance of organic materials in photovoltaics and light emitting diodes is extraordinarily high for thin films, the charge conduction mobilities are generally low. Building highly efficient devices with low-mobility materials is one challenge. Many organic semiconductor films are unstable during fabrication, storage, and operation due to reactions with water, oxygen and hydroxide. A final challenge facing organic electronics is the need for new processes and materials for electrodes, semiconductors and substrates compatible with low-temperature, flexible, and oxygenated and aromatic solvent-free fabrication. Materials and processes must be capable of future high volume production in order to enable low costs. In this thesis we explore several techniques to improve organic semiconductor device performance and enable new fabrication processes.
In Chapter 2, I describe the integration of sub-optical-wavelength nanostructured electrodes that improve fill factor and power conversion efficiency in organic photovoltaic devices. Photovoltaic fill factor performance is one of the primary challenges facing organic photovoltaics because most organic semiconductors have poor charge mobility. Our electrical and optical measurements and simulations indicate that nanostructured electrodes improve charge extraction in organic photovoltaics.
In Chapter 3, I describe a general method for maximizing the efficiency of organic photovoltaic devices by simultaneously optimizing light absorption and charge carrier collection. We analyze the potential benefits of light trapping strategies for maximizing the overall power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaic devices. This technique may be used to improve organic photovoltaic materials with low absorption, or short exciton diffusion and carrier-recombination lengths, opening up the device design space.
In Chapter 4, I describe a process for high-quality graphene transfer onto chemically sensitive, weakly interacting organic semiconductor thin-films. Graphene is a promising flexible and highly transparent electrode for organic electronics; however, transferring graphene films onto organic semiconductor devices was previously impossible. We demonstrate a new transfer technique based on an elastomeric stamp coated with an fluorinated polymer release layer. We fabricate three classes of organic semiconductor devices: field effect transistors without high temperature annealing, transparent organic light-emitting diodes, and transparent small-molecule organic photovoltaic devices.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kymissis, Ioannis
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 7, 2014