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Rigid, Conjugated Macrocycles for High Performance Organic Photodetectors

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journal contribution
posted on 12.12.2016, 14:48 by Boyuan Zhang, M. Tuan Trinh, Brandon Fowler, Melissa Ball, Qizhi Xu, Fay Ng, Michael L. Steigerwald, X.-Y. Zhu, Colin Nuckolls, Yu Zhong
Organic photodetectors (OPDs) are attractive for their high optical absorption coefficient, broad wavelength tunability, and compatibility with lightweight and flexible devices. Here we describe a new molecular design that enables high performance organic photodetectors. We use a rigid, conjugated macrocycle as the electron acceptor in devices to obtain high photocurrent and low dark current. We make a direct comparison between the devices made with the macrocyclic acceptor and an acyclic control molecule; we find that the superior performance of the macrocycle originates from its rigid, conjugated, and cyclic structure. The macrocycle’s rigid structure reduces the number of charged defects originating from deformed sp2 carbons and covalent defects from photo/thermoactivation. With this molecular design, we are able to suppress dark current density while retaining high responsivity in an ultrasensitive nonfullerene OPD. Importantly, we achieve a detectivity of ∼1014 Jones at near zero bias voltage. This is without the need for extra carrier blocking layers commonly employed in fullerene-based devices. Our devices are comparable to the best fullerene-based photodetectors, and the sensitivity at low working voltages (<0.1 V) is a record for nonfullerene OPDs.