Trap Healing for High-Performance Low-Voltage Polymer Transistors and Solution-Based Analog Amplifiers on Foil

Vincenzo Pecunia*, Mark Nikolka, Antony Sou, Iyad Nasrallah, Atefeh Y. Amin, Iain McCulloch, Henning Sirringhaus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Solution-processed semiconductors such as conjugated polymers have great potential in large-area electronics. While extremely appealing due to their low-temperature and high-throughput deposition methods, their integration in high-performance circuits has been difficult. An important remaining challenge is the achievement of low-voltage circuit operation. The present study focuses on state-of-the-art polymer thin-film transistors based on poly(indacenodithiophene-benzothiadiazole) and shows that the general paradigm for low-voltage operation via an enhanced gate-to-channel capacitive coupling is unable to deliver high-performance device behavior. The order-of-magnitude longitudinal-field reduction demanded by low-voltage operation plays a fundamental role, enabling bulk trapping and leading to compromised contact properties. A trap-reduction technique based on small molecule additives, however, is capable of overcoming this effect, allowing low-voltage high-mobility operation. This approach is readily applicable to low-voltage circuit integration, as this work exemplifies by demonstrating high-performance analog differential amplifiers operating at a battery-compatible power supply voltage of 5 V with power dissipation of 11 µW, and attaining a voltage gain above 60 dB at a power supply voltage below 8 V. These findings constitute an important milestone in realizing low-voltage polymer transistors for solution-based analog electronics that meets performance and power-dissipation requirements for a range of battery-powered smart-sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1606938
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
V.P. and M.N. contributed equally to this work. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large Area Electronics (CIMLAE, program grant EP/K03099X/1) and the project Integration of Printed Electronics with Silicon for Smart sensor systems (iPESS). V.P. also acknowledges financial support from the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology. The authors acknowledge helpful discussions with Michael Turner, Krishna Persaud, Ehsan Danesh, and Daniel Tate of the University of Manchester on requirements for integrated sensor systems. The authors are also thankful to Chris Rider for helpful discussions, to Kulbinder Banger for advice on metal-oxide transistors, and to Roger Beadle and Radoslav Chakalov for technical assistance.

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


  • charge trapping
  • low-voltage amplifiers
  • low-voltage polymer transistors
  • solution-based integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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