On the Effect of Confinement on the Structure and Properties of Small-Molecular Organic Semiconductors

Jaime Martín*, Matthew Dyson, Obadiah G. Reid, Ruipeng Li, Aurora Nogales, Detlef M. Smilgies, Carlos Silva, Garry Rumbles, Aram Amassian, Natalie Stingelin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Many typical organic optoelectronic devices, such as light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors, and photovoltaic cells, use an ultrathin active layer where the organic semiconductor is confined within nanoscale dimensions. However, the question of how this spatial constraint impacts the active material is rarely addressed, although it may have a drastic influence on the phase behavior and microstructure of the active layer and hence the final performance. Here, the small-molecule semiconductor p-DTS(FBTTh2)2 is used as a model system to illustrate how sensitive this class of material can be to spatial confinement on device-relevant length scales. It is also shown that this effect can be exploited; it is demonstrated, for instance, that spatial confinement is an efficient tool to direct the crystal orientation and overall texture of p-DTS(FBTTh2)2 structures in a controlled manner, allowing for the manipulation of properties including photoluminescence and charge transport characteristics. This insight should be widely applicable as the temperature/confinement phase diagrams established via differential scanning calorimetry and grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction are used to identify specific processing routes that can be directly extrapolated to other functional organic materials, such as polymeric semiconductors, ferroelectrics or high-refractive-index polymers, to induce desired crystal textures or specific (potentially new) polymorphs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700308
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.M. acknowledges support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant, agreement no. 654682 and the Fellow Gipuzkoa program of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa. N.S. is grateful for support by a European Research Council ERC Starting Independent Research Fellowship under the grant agreement no. 279587. A.N. acknowledges the financial support from MINECO (Grant No. MAT2014-59187-R). M.D. thanks the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the financial support through the Doctoral Training Centre in Plastic Electronics (EP/G037515/1). A.A. and N.S. are grateful to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) for support under the Competitive Research Grant scheme (round 5). The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) was supported by the National Science Foundation under award DMR-1332208. The microwave conductivity work was supported by the Solar Photochemistry Program of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences, under Contract Number DE-AC36-08GO28308 to NREL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • AAO
  • confinement
  • crystallization
  • organic semiconductors
  • phase diagrams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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