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Solution-processable organic conductors and semiconductors for thin-film electronics


Anna Hiszpanski, a PhD student in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Princeton University, and recipient of an NSF-funded IGERT traineeship, has reported ground-breaking research in organic semiconductor design using contorted hexabenzocoronene as a model system. Performance of organic electronic devices has greatly improved in the past decade due to novel molecular and polymeric semiconductors. However, a survey of the best-performing semiconductors yields little guide for molecular design. The difficulty in creating such a guide lies in the fact that a device’s performance is the convolution of several variables, including the semiconducting molecule’s chemical structure and the molecules’ organization in films.

Decoupling these variables to understand the underlying chemistry-processing-structure-function relationships is complicated, as it requires the ability to tune each of these variables individually. Using hexabenzocoronene, Hiszpanski, a member of Lynn Loo’s research group at Princeton, has been developing guidelines for design by tuning the chemistry, molecular structure, or film structure and studying the effects these changes have on charge transport. The ability to replace thermally-evaporated metal and organic semiconductors with solution-processable counterparts as active device components will lower capital and operational costs associated with thin-film electronics fabrication. These studies have yielded processing-structure-function relationships that guide the fabrication of field-effect transistors and solar cells with improved device performance.

The initial work has been published in Loo, Y.L., Hiszpanski, A.M., Kim, B., Wei, S.J., Chiu, C.Y., Steigerwald, M.L. and Nuckolls, C. (2010). ORGANIC LETTERS, 12 (21), 4840-4843, doi:10.1021/ol102016m. Hiszpanski and Loo have been invited to present their research at several conferences including the 2011 Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Denver, CO; the Materials Research Society Fall 2011 Meeting, Boston, MA, and the Workshop on Characterization of Materials for Sustainable Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL, May 2012. Hiszpanski has been supported as a trainee in the Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT (NSF grant no. 0903661 “Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT,” a collaborative program between Rutgers and Princeton Universities, led at Rutgers by Prof. Manish Chhowalla.

Address Goals

The discoveries related to this project provide the opportunity to strengthen the foundation of organic electronics. The fields of large area electronics that are also flexible will benefit from this research activity within the IGERT program. The training provided from this project will undoubtedly lead to the creation of a world leading scientist in Anna Hiszpanski.