Tailoring electron-transfer barriers for zinc oxide/C 60 fullerene interfaces

Philip Schulz*, Leah L. Kelly, Paul Winget, Hong Li, Hyungchul Kim, Paul F. Ndione, Ajaya K. Sigdel, Joseph J. Berry, Samuel Graham, Jean-Luc Bredas, Antoine Kahn, Oliver L.A. Monti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The interfacial electronic structure between oxide thin films and organic semiconductors remains a key parameter for optimum functionality and performance of next-generation organic/hybrid electronics. By tailoring defect concentrations in transparent conductive ZnO films, we demonstrate the importance of controlling the electron transfer barrier at the interface with organic acceptor molecules such as C 60. A combination of electron spectroscopy, density functional theory computations, and device characterization is used to determine band alignment and electron injection barriers. Extensive experimental and first principles calculations reveal the controllable formation of hybridized interface states and charge transfer between shallow donor defects in the oxide layer and the molecular adsorbate. Importantly, it is shown that removal of shallow donor intragap states causes a larger barrier for electron injection. Thus, hybrid interface states constitute an important gateway for nearly barrier-free charge carrier injection. These findings open new avenues to understand and tailor interfaces between organic semiconductors and transparent oxides, of critical importance for novel optoelectronic devices and applications in energy-conversion and sensor technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7381-7389
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number46
StatePublished - Dec 10 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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