Quasi-1D Polymer Semiconductor – Diarylethene Blends: High Performance Optically Switchable Transistors

Yusheng Chen, Hanlin Wang, Hu Chen, Weimin Zhang, Shunqi Xu, Michael Pätzel, Chun Ma, Cang Wang, Iain McCulloch, Stefan Hecht, Paolo Samorì

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optically switchable field-effect transistors (OSFETs) are non-volatile photonic memory devices holding a great potential for applications in optical information storage and telecommunications. Solution processing of blends of photochromic molecules and π-conjugated polymers is a low-cost protocol to integrate simultaneously optical switching and charge transport functions in large-area devices. However, the limited reversibility of the isomerization of photochromic molecules due to steric hindrance when embedded in ordered polymeric matrices represents a severe limitation and it obliges to incorporate as much as 20% in weight of the photochromic component, thereby drastically diluting the electronic function, limiting the device performance. Herein, a comparative study of the photoresponsivity of a suitably designed diarylethene molecule is reported when embedded in the matrix of six different polymer semiconductors displaying diverse charge transport properties. In particular, this study focuses on three semi-crystalline polymers and three quasi-1D polymers. It is found that 1% w/w of 1,2-bis(5-(3,5-di-tert-butylphenyl)-2-methylthiophen-3-yl)cyclopent-1-ene in a blend with poly(indacenodithiophene-co-benzothiadiazole) is sufficient to fabricate OSFETs combining photo-modulation efficiencies of 45.5%, mobilities >1 cm2 V−1s−1, and photo-recovered efficiencies of 98.1%. These findings demonstrate that quasi-1D polymer semiconductors, because of their charge transport dominated by intra-molecular processes, epitomize the molecular design principles required for the fabrication of high-performance OSFETs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
StatePublished - Jul 12 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-18
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG10
Acknowledgements: This work was financially supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche through the Interdisciplinary Thematic Institute SysChem via the IdEx Unistra (ANR-10-IDEX-0002) within the program Investissement d'Avenir, the Foundation Jean-Marie Lehn, the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), the Chinese Scholarship Council, and the German Research Foundation (DFG via project 182087777 – SFB 951). H.C. acknowledges the financial support from the open research fund of the Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory (2022SLABFN06), Dongguan, China. I.M. acknowledges financial support from KAUST Office of Sponsored Research CRG10, by EU Horizon2020 grant agreement no. 952911, BOOSTER, grant agreement no. 862474, RoLA-FLEX, and grant agreement no. 101007084 CITYSOLAR, as well as EPSRC Projects EP/T026219/1 and EP/W017091/1.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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