Charge Transport in Semiconducting Polymer Devices
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Understanding the fundamentals of Organic semiconductors is crucial aspect towards the technological applications. Conjugated polymers have shown many interesting physical properties. Especially the electronic and optical properties of these materials have great impact on the daily life. Much work has been devoted to gain the knowledge on the electrical and photo physical properties of these materials. Despite the large number of studies in fabrication and characterisation on these devices some of the fundamental properties like charge transport, carrier generation and its control by doping are not well accomplished. The Thesis consists of 6 chapters. First chapter is a brief introduction on various properties of semiconducting polymers. Different charge transport models and their basic mechanisms are discussed. Chapter 2 discusses the synthesis, device making and experimental methods used to characterise the polymer devices. Chapter 3 is focused on transport properties in polypyrrole devices and its variation with different experimental conditions. Chapter 4 is aimed to understand the anomalies in the current-voltage characteristics appearing in some of the thiophene based devices. In Chapter 5, the impedance measurement technique is used to characterise the poly (3-hexylthiophene) devices and the outcomes are presented and chapter 6 summarises all the experimental results obtained in this thesis work and presents some future aspects and directions. Chapter 1: Some of the basic properties and recent advancements in the field of organic semiconductors are discussed in this chapter. Organic semiconductor devices based on conjugated polymers are now becoming alternatives to inorganic semiconductors in many fields. Mobility of these conjugated polymers can be increased by adding dopants and also by choosing appropriate metal contacts for charge injection and extraction. The complexity of the metal-polymer interfaces can be better understood by varying the carrier density and studying their transport properties with various experimental tools. Chapter 2: The polymer films prepared in this study are electrochemically deposited on to various conducting substrates. The doping and de-doping of the carriers is done by passing a current and reversing its polarity for different time intervals. Device structures for the measurements are obtained by making a top contact on top of the polymer layer. The current-voltage (I-V) and impedance measurements are carried out in metal-polymer-metal geometry. Temperature dependent studies down to 10 K were performed in a continuous flow cryostat to understand the role of temperature in transport studies. Impedance and light measurements are also carried out in the same geometry. Chapter 3: Transport measurements on polypyrrole devices have shown a space-charge limited (SCLC) conduction, which is also known as bulk property of the materials. I-V curves displayed non-ohmic behaviour at higher voltages and by varying the carrier density the devices show a transition from trap controlled SCLC to trap free/trap filled SCLC. Traps distribution and energies are estimated from the temperature dependent I-V measurements. Poole-Frenkel behaviour, i.e. field dependent mobility is observed in all the polypyrrole samples. The zero field mobility follows Arrhenius behaviour at higher temperatures. Also the temperature variation of mobility displays field dependent and field independent regimes in fully doped and lightly de-doped polypyrrole films. A zero-bias anomaly is observed as the field goes to zero value below 50 K, due to coulomb-blockade transport. Capacitance measurements have shown pseudo inductive behaviour at higher bias, which is also connected with trap-filling regime of PPy devices. Chapter 4: Current-Voltage anomalies are observed in polythiophene (PTh) and poly (3-methylthiophene) [P3MeT] based devices. The origin of this anomaly is not straight forward in polymer devices, so we investigated it in detail. We propose this is a property specific to the above two materials from various experimental studies. The anomalous behaviour appears when the bias is swept from negative to positive keeping the substrate deposited with polymer as anode. The magnitude of peak to valley current ratio (PVCR) which characterises the merit of device can be varied more than two orders of magnitude by varying the carrier density and as well as by varying scan rate. Since the trap states are also one of the reasons for the origin of this anomaly the rate of filling of these states can be helpful in tuning the magnitude of PVCR. Photo generated carriers in the above devices also help in tuning and controlling the magnitude of anomaly, which can make this device as a suitable candidate for opto-electronic studies. Different conductive substrates such as indium tin oxide, platinum, gold and stainless steel are used for deposition of the above polymers. Top contacts (gold, silver and aluminium) have been also varied to understand the origin of this anomaly. Anomalies are observed with all these different substrates and different top contacts. Finally impedance measurements have shown an elongated tail in the Cole-Cole plot in the region of NDR. Chapter 5: Impedance measurements on poly (3-hexylthiophene) devices have shown different relaxation mechanism by varying the doping concentration. For moderately doped devices the relaxation mechanism is classical Debye-type, whereas for highly de-doped samples the relaxation time of the carriers is distributed. Charge transport parameters such as contact resistance, mobility and conduction mechanism details can be obtained by identifying and fitting the data to the equivalent circuit model. The relaxation time of the carriers can give rough estimation of mobility and capacitance. The capacitance variation with applied bias gives the nature of conduction mechanism in the devices. If the capacitance variation is unaffected by the applied bias the transport is bulk limited, if it changes significantly the transport can be considered as either contact limited or depletion layer controlled. Current-Voltage measurements also show that Schottky behaviour is present in all the devices. The rectification ratio varies with doping concentration; at one optimum doping concentration the rectification is very high. I-V measurements on P3MeT devices with varying carrier density have shown a transition in the conduction mechanism from SCLC to contact limited. In the devices with less carrier density the contact limited mechanism is dominating at lower bias voltage and as the bias increases the bulk limited transport takes over. This highlights the role of carrier density in the transport mechanism. Chapter 6: The conclusions from all the works presented in the thesis are summarised in this chapter. Some of the future directions works are presented.
- Physics (PHY) 
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