Origin of the different transport properties of electron and hole polarons in an ambipolar polyselenophene-based conjugated polymer

Zhuoying Chen, Matthew Bird, Vincent Lemaur, Guillaume Radtke, Jérôme Cornil, Martin Heeney, Iain McCulloch, Henning Sirringhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Understanding the mechanisms limiting ambipolar transport in conjugated polymer field-effect transistors (FETs) is of both fundamental and practical interest. Here, we present a systematic study comparing hole and electron charge transport in an ambipolar conjugated polymer, semicrystalline poly(3,3 ′′-di-n-decylterselenophene) (PSSS). Starting from a detailed analysis of the device characteristics and temperature/charge- density dependence of the mobility, we interpret the difference between hole and electron transport through both the Vissenberg-Matters and the mobility-edge model. To obtain microscopic insight into the quantum mechanical wave function of the charges at a molecular level, we combine charge modulation spectroscopy (CMS) measuring the charge-induced absorption signatures from positive and negative polarons in these ambipolar FETs with corresponding density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We observe a significantly higher switch-on voltage for electrons than for holes due to deep electron trap states, but also a higher activation energy of the mobility for mobile electrons. The CMS spectra reveal that the electrons that remain mobile and contribute to the FET current have a wave function that is more localized onto a single polymer chain than that of holes, which is extended over several polymer chains. We interpret this as evidence that the transport properties of the mobile electrons in PSSS are still affected by the presence of deep electron traps. The more localized electron state could be due to the mobile electrons interacting with shallow trap states in the vicinity of a chemical, potentially water-related, impurity that might precede the capture of the electron into a deeply trapped state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115211
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 27 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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