Since the grain boundaries (GBs) within the semiconductor layer of organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) have a strong influence on device performance, a substantial number of studies have been devoted to controlling the crystallization characteristics of organic semiconductors. We studied the intrinsic effects of GBs within 5,11-bis(triethylsilylethynyl) anthradithiophene (TES-ADT) thin films on the electrical properties of OFETs. The GB density was easily changed by controlling nulceation event in TES-ADT thin films. When the mixing time was increased, the number of aggregates in as-spun TES-ADT thin films were increased and subsequent exposure of the films to 1,2-dichloroethane vapor led to a significant increase in the number of nuleation sites, thereby increasing the GB density of TES-ADT spherulites. The density of GBs strongly influences the angular spread and crystallographic orientation of TES-ADT spherulites. Accordingly, the FETs with higher GB densities showed much poorer electrical characteristics than devices with lower GB density. Especially, GBs provide charge trapping sites which are responsible for bias-stress driven electrical instability. Dielectric surface treatment with a polystyrene brush layer clarified the GB-induced charge trapping by reducing charge trapping at the semiconductor-dielectric interface. Our study provides an understanding on GB induced bias instability for the development of high performance OFETs.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 6, article no. 33224, p. 1-11.

© The Author(s) 2016

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This work was supported by grants from the Leading Foreign Research Institute Recruitment Program (2010- 00525), the Basic Science Research Program (Code No. 2016R1C1B2013176) and the Center for Advanced Soft Electronics under the Global Frontier Research Program (Code No. 2011-0031628) of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Korea.

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