, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 291-296
Date: 17 Dec 2008

Polaron and ion diffusion in a poly(3-hexylthiophene) thin-film transistor gated with polymer electrolyte dielectric

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Electrolytes are finding applications as dielectric materials in low-voltage organic thin-film transistors (OTFT). The presence of mobile ions in these materials (polymer electrolytes or ion gels) gives rise to very high capacitance (>10 μF/cm2) and thus low transistor turn-on voltage. In order to establish fundamental limits in switching speeds of electrolyte gated OFETs, we carry out in situ optical spectroscopy measurement of a poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) OTFT gated with a LiClO4:poly(ethyleneoxide) (PEO) dielectric. Based on spectroscopic signatures of molecular vibrations and polaron transitions, we quantitatively determine charge carrier concentration and diffusion constants. We find two distinctively different regions: at V G≥−1.5 V, drift-diffusion (parallel to the semiconductor/dielectric interface) of hole-polarons in P3HT controls charging of the device; at V G<−1.5 V, electrochemical doping of the entire P3HT film occurs and charging is controlled by drift/diffusion (perpendicular to the interface) of ClO4 counter ions into the polymer semiconductor.