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Silicon Phthalocyanines for n‑Type Organic Thin-Film Transistors: Development of Structure–Property Relationships

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journal contribution
posted on 14.12.2020, 21:14 authored by Benjamin King, Owen A. Melville, Nicole A. Rice, Somayeh Kashani, Claire Tonnelé, Hasan Raboui, Sufal Swaraj, Trevor M. Grant, Terry McAfee, Timothy P. Bender, Harald Ade, Frédéric Castet, Luca Muccioli, Benoît H. Lessard
Silicon phthalocyanines (SiPcs) have shown great potential as n-type or ambipolar organic semiconductors in organic thin-film transistors (OTFTs) and organic photovoltaics. Although properly designed SiPcs rival current state-of-the-art n-type organic semiconducting materials, relatively few structure–property relationships have been established to determine the impact of axial substituents on OTFT performance, hindering the intelligent design of the next generation of SiPcs. To address this omission, we have developed structure–property relationships for vapor-deposited SiPcs with phenoxy axial substituents. In addition to thorough electrical characterization of bottom-gate top-contact OTFTs, we extensively investigated SiPc thin films using X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy (AFM), grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering (GIWAXS), and density functional theory (DFT) modeling. OTFT performance, including relative electron mobility (μe) of materials, was in general agreement with values obtained through DFT modeling including reorganization energy. Another significant trend observed from device performance was that increasing the electron-withdrawing character of the axial pendant groups led to a reduction in threshold voltage (VT) from 47.9 to 21.1 V. This was corroborated by DFT modeling, which predicted that VT decreases with the square of the dipole induced at the interface between the SiPc pendant and substrate. Discrepancies between modeling predictions and experimental results can be explained through analysis of thin-film morphology and orientation by AFM and GIWAXS. Our results demonstrate that a combination of DFT modeling to select prospective candidate materials, combined with appropriate processing conditions to deposit molecules with a favorable thin-film morphology in an “edge-on” orientation relative to the substrate, yields high-performance n-type SiPc-based OTFTs.