Prepare with Care: Low Contact Resistance of Pentacene Field-Effect Transistors with Clean and Oxidized Gold Electrodes – Publication by A2 (Witte)

In a new publication in Organic Electronics, project A2 (Witte) reports on the establishment of a complete high vacuum-based manufacturing and electronic characterization of organic field effect transistors (OFET).

A4 OFET 2021

Photograph and force microscopy image of the vacuum-processed OFETs, which enables their electrical characterization without exposing the devices to air (Image: Y. Radiev).

The electronic coupling between OSC and metallic electrodes is of key importance for the efficiency of charge carrier injection in organic electronic devices, such as OFETs or photovoltaic cells, as it determines their idle power. Surface science-based model studies have mainly focused on the energy level alignment at such metal-organic interfaces without measuring real contact resistances, while device studies are typically performed without any microscopic structural and electronic interface characterization. In the present work, the authors introduced a high vacuum-based manufacturing of bottom contact OFETs that enables cleaning and controlled modification of metal contacts before the organic film deposition. This approach not only excludes any exposure to air, it also allows to examine the influence of controlled exposure to air on the device characteristics.

Using the example of the prototypical OSC pentacene it is demonstrated that FET structures with thoroughly cleaned gold electrodes reveal a remarkably low contact resistance. This can be further improved if the electrodes are O2 plasma treated before the pentacene film growth, which results in a thin gold oxide layer and yields one of the lowest contact resistances ever reported for this system. It is shown that this not only causes an improved energy level alignment at the metal-organic interface but also suppresses a pronounced dewetting. In addition, it was demonstrated that controlled exposure to air – even for a short time – significantly affects the device performance.

The present study is an important milestone as it enables detailed electronic transport measurements through metal-OSC interfaces with poly- and single crystal organic semiconductors. This work paves the way for a knowledge transfer about the properties of idealized model interfaces to real electronic devices applications.


Yurii Radiev, Felix Widdascheck, Michael Göbel, Alrun Aline Hauke and Gregor Witte,
Prepare with Care: Low Contact Resistance of Pentacene Field-Effect Transistors with Clean and Oxidized Gold Electrodes
Org. Electron. 89 (2021) 106030 DOI:10.1016/j.orgel.2020.106030


Prof. Dr. Gregor Witte
Philipps-Universität Marburg
SFB 1083, project A2
Tel.: 06421 28-21384