Alberga, Domenico; Mangiatordi, Giuseppe Felice; Motta, Alessandro; Nicolotti, Orazio; Lattanzi, Gianluca
Effects of Different Self-Assembled Mono layers on Thin-Film Morphology: A Combined DFT/MD Simulation Protocol
LANGMUIR, 31:10693-10701, OCT 6 2015

Organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) are multilayer field-effect transistors that employ an organic conjugated material as semiconductor. Several experimental groups have recently demonstrated that the insertion of an organic self-assembled monolayer (SAM) between the dielectric and the semiconductive layer is responsible for a sensible improvement of the OTFT performances in terms of an increased charge carrier mobility caused by a higher degree of order in the organic semiconductor layer. Here, we describe a combined periodic density functional theory (DFT) and classical molecular dynamics (MD) protocol applied to four different SAMs and a pentacene monolayer deposited onto their surfaces. In particular, we investigate the morphology and the surface of the four SAMs and the translational, orientational, and nematic order of the monolayer through the calculation of several distribution functions and order parameters pointing out the differences among the systems and relating them to known experimental results. Our calculations also suggest that small differences in the SAM molecular design will produce remarkable differences in the SAM surface and monolayer order. In particular, our simulations explain how a SAM with a bulky terminal group results in an irregular and rough surface that determines the deposition of a disordered semiconductive monolayer. On the contrary, SAMs with a small terminal group generate smooth surfaces with uninterrupted periodicity, thus favoring the formation of an ordered pentacene monolayer that increases the mobility of charge carriers and improves the overall performances of the OTFT devices. Our results clearly point out that the in silk procedure presented here might be of help in tuning the design of SAMs in order to improve the quality of OTFT devices.


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