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Vladimirov, I.; Kühn, M.; Geßner, T.; May, F. and Weitz, R. T. (2018): Energy barriers at grain boundaries dominate charge carrier transport in an electron-conductive organic semiconductor. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 8, 14868 [PDF, 2MB]


Semiconducting organic films that are at the heart of light-emitting diodes, solar cells and transistors frequently contain a large number of morphological defects, most prominently at the interconnects between crystalline regions. These grain boundaries can dominate the overall (opto-)electronic properties of the entire device and their exact morphological and energetic nature is still under current debate. Here, we explore in detail the energetics at the grain boundaries of a novel electron conductive perylene diimide thin film. Via a combination of temperature dependent charge transport measurements and ab-initio simulations at atomistic resolution, we identify that energetic barriers at grain boundaries dominate charge transport in our system. This novel aspect of physics at the grain boundary is distinct from previously identified grain-boundary defects that had been explained by trapping of charges. We furthermore derive molecular design criteria to suppress such energetic barriers at grain boundaries in future, more efficient organic semiconductors.

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