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Effect of Surface Wettability Properties on the Electrical Properties of Printed Carbon Nanotube Thin-Film Transistors on SiO2/Si Substrates

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journal contribution
posted on 09.07.2014, 00:00 by Zhen Liu, Jianwen Zhao, Wenya Xu, Long Qian, Shuhong Nie, Zheng Cui
The precise placement and efficient deposition of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (sc-SWCNTs) on substrates are challenges for achieving printed high-performance SWCNT thin-film transistors (TFTs) with independent gates. It was found that the wettability of the substrate played a key role in the electrical properties of TFTs for sc-SWCNTs sorted by poly­[(9,9-dioctylfluorene-2,7-diyl)-co-(1,4-benzo-2,1,3-thiadiazole)] (PFO-BT). In the present work we report a simple and scalable method which can rapidly and selectively deposit a high concentration of sc-SWCNTs in TFT channels by aerosol-jet-printing. The method is based on oxygen plasma treatment of substrates, which tunes the surface wettability. TFTs printed on the treated substrates demonstrated a low operation voltage, small hysteresis, high mobility up to 32.3 cm2 V–1 s–1, and high on/off ratio up to 106 after only two printings. Their mobilities were 10 and 30 times higher than those of TFTs fabricated on untreated and low-wettability substrates. The uniformity of printed TFTs was also greatly improved. Inverters were constructed by printed top-gate TFTs, and a maximum voltage gain of 17 at Vdd = 5 V was achieved. The mechanism of such improvements is that the PFO-BT-functionalized sc-SWCNTs are preferably immobilized on the oxygen plasma treated substrates due to the strong hydrogen bonds between sc-SWCNTs and hydroxyl groups on the substrates.