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Extended and Modulated Thienothiophenes for Thermally Durable and Solution-Processable Organic Semiconductors

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posted on 20.07.2018, 00:00 by Satoru Inoue, Shoji Shinamura, Yuichi Sadamitsu, Shunto Arai, Sachio Horiuchi, Makoto Yoneya, Kazuo Takimiya, Tatsuo Hasegawa
Herein, we report the rational design of practical small-molecule organic semiconductors based on a π-electron skeleton of benzothieno­[3,2-b]­naphtho­[2,3-b]­thiophene (BTNT) whose layered herringbone (LHB) packing is intentionally modulated by the designated asymmetric substitutions with the phenyl group and normal alkyl chains. The thermal stability of the hybrid BTNT core is high enough, as it lies between those of dinaphtho­[2,3-b:2′,3′-f]­thieno­[3,2-b]­thiophene (DNTT) and benzothieno­[3,2-b]­benzothiophene (BTBT), although the solvent solubility for the substituted BTNT at ordinary 2,8-substituting positions by the alkyl chain and phenyl group remains extremely low. We show in the BTBT and BTNT derivatives that the tuning of the substituting position works to slightly bend the rodlike organic semiconductor molecules and thus to decrease the cohesive energy of the crystals with retention of the bilayer-type herringbone (b-LHB) packing for the asymmetric rodlike molecules. This modification eventually leads to an increase in solvent solubility, a decrease in phase transition temperature, and the suppression of liquid-crystalline phases at high temperatures. By using the substituting effect, we successfully achieve the organic semiconductors with modulated alkylated Ph-BTNT that exhibits both a sufficiently high solvent solubility and a sufficiently high thermal stability. The variation in the crystal packing also enhances the intermolecular transfer integrals along the T-shaped contacts within the intralayer herringbone packing. Spin coating of the material under ambient conditions affords high-performance bottom-gate, bottom-contact organic thin-film transistors, exhibiting high thermal durability in the device characteristics below 150 °C. The obtained devices also exhibit a higher mobility, a lower threshold voltage, and a smaller subthreshold swing, by initial thermal treatment at 140 °C, composed to those of the as-prepared films, because the thermal treatment stabilizes the b-LHB packing and thus suppresses the residual minority holes and shallow traps. These findings should be crucial in the design and development of organic semiconductor materials for practical printed electronics applications.

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