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23 bits optical sensor based on nonvolatile organic memory transistor

20 Mar 2014-Applied Physics Letters (American Institute of Physics)-Vol. 104, Iss: 11, pp 113302

AbstractPolymer electret transistor memory device has stable charge storage and memory properties. Here, we combine a large band gap organic semiconductor dinaphtho[2,3-b:2′,3′-f]thieno[3,2-b]thiophene with the polystyrene electret to form an optical sensor with memory effect. The blue light combined with programming bias leads to a positive threshold voltage shift for more than 100 V while the drain-source current shows a variation of seven orders of magnitude. The dynamic range of current device is up to 23 bits and the photo responsivity is 420 A W−1. The optically programmed transistor can be directly used for high-resolution optical sensor and multi-level data storage applications.

Topics: Optical transistor (63%), Computer data storage (58%), Threshold voltage (58%), Transistor (57%), Organic memory (56%)

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23 bits optical sensor based on nonvolatile organic memory transistor
Xiaochen Ren and Paddy K. L. Chan
Citation: Applied Physics Letters 104, 113302 (2014); doi: 10.1063/1.4869308
View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4869308
View Table of Contents: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/apl/104/11?ver=pdfcov
Published by the AIP Publishing
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23 bits optical sensor based on nonvolatile organic memory transistor
Xiaochen Ren and Paddy K. L. Chan
a)
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
(Received 13 November 2013; accepted 11 March 2014; published online 20 March 2014)
Polymer electret transistor memory device has stable charge storage and memory properties. Here,
we combine a large band gap organic semiconductor dinaphtho[2,3-b:2
0
,3
0
-f]thieno[3,2-
b]thiophene with the polystyrene electret to form an optical sensor with memory effect. The blue
light combined with programming bias leads to a positive threshold voltage shift for more than
100 V while the drain-source current shows a variation of seven orders of magnitude. The dynamic
range of current device is up to 23 bits and the photo responsivity is 420 A W
1
. The optically
programmed transistor can be directly used for high-resolution optical sensor and multi-level data
storage applications.
V
C
2014 AIP Publishing LLC.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4869308]
Organic field effect transistors (OFETs) have demon-
strated their potential applications in various functional devi-
ces including memories
1
and integrated sensors.
2
In memory
transistors, the carrier density in the channel region is pre-
cisely controlled by the local electrical field induced by trap
charges that are generated by electrical bias or external stimu-
lations such as pressure and light. Different structures have
been realized for organic memory transistor, such as inserting
the floating gate layer,
1
using polymer electrets as charge
trapping media,
3
and placing metal nanoparticles into dielec-
tric
4
or semiconductor
5
as the charge trapping centers.
Among these structures, polymer electret has demonstrated
high writing/erasing speed with long charge retention prop-
erty.
6,7
Baeg et al. has reported transistor memory devices
based on different polymer electrets and most of the devices
can be programmed within few millisecond (ms) and the pro-
gramming states can be maintained over 1000 s without
significant degradation and it is expected that the retention
time of memory transistor based on polystyrene (PS) electret
could be close to 10
8
s.
3
Hsu et al. reported the charge trap-
ping property of pentacene transistor with polystyrene
para-substituted with p-conjugated oligofluorenes as polymer
electrets.
8
They showed the p-conjugated oligofluorenes with
smaller band gap can offer larger threshold voltage (V
th
) shift
because of the lower injection barrier for electrons.
8
In
polymer electrets memory devices, pentacene is commonly
used as the active layer p-type semiconductor materials.
9,10
Compare with pentacene, transistors made with dinaph-
tho-[2,3-b:2
0
,3
0
-f]-thieno[3,2-b]thiophene (DNTT) cannot
only provide high field-effect mobility for high frequency
operation,
11
but more importantly, DNTT device can operate
under high temperature environment up to 150
C and ambi-
ent air environment without encapsulation.
12,13
Other than memory devices, OFETs can also be used for
sensing physical parameters including pressure,
2
tempera-
ture,
14
and light.
15
Optical sensors for different photon wave-
lengths can be tuned by varying the molecular structure thus
the band gap of organic semiconductors.
16
Small molecular
weight organic semiconductor phototransistors have similar
photo responsivity (R—the ratio between the photo-
generated current and the incident light intensity) and
dynamic range (DR—ratio between maximum and minimum
output signal of a sensor) to their inorganic counterparts.
Owing to the high mobility of graphene, the highest reported
R of organic transistor was graphene-based devices with a
value over 10
5
AW
1
.
17
However, the DR of the graphene
transistor is very low because of the high off current in the
device. On the other hand, the small molecular weight
organic semiconductor transistors offer large light/dark
current ratio (10
3
–10
5
) (i.e., high dynamic range), but
suffer from low responsivity due to their low mobility
(0.02–0.5 cm
2
V
1
s
1
).
18
Recently, several groups have
demonstrated the integration of the photosensing and mem-
ory properties of organic transistor into a single device by
maintaining the photo excited charges in the device. This
can be done by usin g ultrathin dielectric,
19
photochromic
materials,
20,21
or charge trapping small molecule layer.
22
Zhang et al. have demonstrated the light-charge organic tran-
sistor memory (LCOM) devices with the low-lying lowest
unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energy level small
molecule organic semiconductor as the charge storage mate-
rial.
22
In LCOM, photo-generated electrons are stored in the
small molecule charge trapping centers due to its low con-
ductivity and low-lying LUMO energy level. The charge
retention time and on/off ratio of the devices can be as high
as 20 000 s and 10
3
, respectively.
In this work, we combine the optical sensing and mem-
ory properties of the OFETs by using electret material and
large band gap organic semiconductor to form a high per-
formance optical programming memory transistor. We used
the air stable organic semiconductor with large band gap,
DNTT (3 eV), as the active layer material and PS/SiO
2
as the
hybrid dielectric. The V
th
of the transistors can be altered in
both positive and negative directions by applying external
gate bias with light irradiation. The shift of V
th
shows no
degradation for longer than 10
4
s and it is believed that the
charge retention time can be longer than 10
7
s. The current
optical memory transistor with controllable V
th
shift under
various light intensities has responsivity of 420 A W
1
and
high dynamic range of 23 bits which can be use directly as
an optical sensors and multi-level storage memories.
The cross-section S EM image together with schematic
diagram of the device is s hown in Fig. 1(a). The device f ab-
rication process is described as follow. Heavily doped Si
a)
Email: pklc@hku.hk
0003-6951/2014/104(11)/113302/5/$30.00
V
C
2014 AIP Publishing LLC104, 113302-1
APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS 104, 113302 (2014)
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wafer with ther mally growth 300 nm SiO
2
layer is used as
substrate and gate dielec tric, prior to deposition, the sub-
strate was cleaned by Deionized (DI) water and organic sol-
vents. PS (
MW
¼ 200 000, Sigma-Aldrich) dissolved into
toluene solvent with 0.5% weight ratio and then spun coated
onto SiO
2
substrate with 6000 rpm for 1 min, then dried in
N
2
atmosphere f or 1 h at 9 0
C. 40 nm DNTT was the rmally
evaporated onto the spun coated PS in vacuum chamber
with base pressur e 5 10
7
torr, followed by 50 nm Ag top
electrodes defined by shadow mask with channel width of
2 mm an d channel length of 0.1 mm. The output intensities
of the bl ue and red high power LED (Luxeon Star) were
calibrated by Newport power meter. The designed thickness
of the PS layer i s 30 nm and it is confirmed by t he SEM
image in Fig. 1(a). The transfer curve of the fresh devi ce is
indicated by the black square curve in Fig. 1(b) and the mea-
surem ent was performed under dark in nitrogen glove box.
It can be noticed from the curve that the turn- on of the tran-
sistor channel i s near zero gate bias. Here, we apply a posi-
tive gate bias for the writ ing process, and negative gate bi as
for erasing. The biasing pe riod for both writing and erasing
is 10 s. It can be noticed from Fig. 1(b) that the current
PS/DNTT optical memory device behaves completely dif-
ferent from the typical PS/pentacene device
6
where positive
writing bias induces right (positive) shift and negative eras-
ing bias induces left (negative) shift to the threshold voltage.
Under a 150 V erasing bias, the V
th
moved from 7.5 V to
73.2 V. The 63.7 V shift in threshold voltage is attributed
to the filling of hole traps in the electret. However, unlike
PS/pentacene memory transistor where positive shift in
the tran sfer curves would occur, a þ150 V wr iting bias in
the current PS/DNTT device shows negligible effect on the
transfer curve of the device. Table I summarizes the
effective carrier mobility (l), subthreshold swing (SS), and
V
th
of the device under different bias conditions. It can be
noti ce from Table I that the mobility and SS remain the
same for all the biasing co nditions, V
th
negatively shifts
only after erasing but almost remain unchanged after apply-
ing a writing bias. Weak response to the þ150 V writing
bias in the current device can be explained by the large elec-
tron injection barrier between the DNTT and Ag electrode
which limits the number of electrons be ing injected (Fig.
1(c) ). As a result, very little amount of electron traps in the
electret layer can be fil led by the electrons. To restore the
positive shift in th e V
th
unde r positive writing bias, electrons
need to be generated in the DNTT and allowed to be trapped
in the PS lay er. Making use of this prop erty in large band
gap organic semiconductor, we can introduce the op tical
sensing property into the memory transistors and make it
programmable with light.
The absorption spectrum of a 40 nm DNTT thin film
thermally evaporated on a quartz glass is shown in Fig. 2(a).
The major absorption peak is located at 443 nm which agrees
with the band gap measurement by cyclic voltammetry
(E
g
¼ 3 eV).
23
To test the optical sensitivity of the current
memory device, we used a blue LED with emission peak at
447 nm and FWHM of 20 nm. The emission spectrums of the
LED light sources are shown in the inset of Fig. 2(a). The
transfer curves of the fresh device tested under the following
biasing sequence (1st) fresh device, (2nd) erasing bias
150 V under dark, (3rd) writing bias þ150 V under blue
LED illumination, (4th) erasing bias 150 V under dark are
shown in Fig. 2(b). It is important to notice that all the trans-
fer I-V curve measurements in the current work were per-
formed under dark and light illumination that only occur
during the writing process. By comparing the 3rd curve and
the transfer curve after writing under dark in Fig. 1(b), it can
be confirmed that positively shift of the threshold voltage
only occur if it is programming under blue light illumination.
After programming under blue illumination, the device can
be simply erased by a negative bias as before (4th curve in
Fig. 2(b)). To verify the electrons being injected into the PS
layer are originally generated from the DNTT layer, we
switched to a red LED (emission peak at 655 nm, FWHM
20 nm) as the illumination source (see inset of Fig. 2(a) for
FIG. 1. (a) Cross sectional SEM image of DNTT transistor memory device in which the thickness of PS was estimated to be 30 nm. Inset is the schematic dia-
gram of the device structure. Different from the real device, the top Ag layer thickness is intentionally increased from 50 nm to100 nm in the sample for SEM
image. (b) Transfer I-V of DNTT transistor memory device measured in the dark. (c) Schematic band diagram of transistor device working at positive gate
bias and under blue light illumination, photo excited electrons in DNTT are trapped in the traps state (dotted circle) of the PS electret under positive gate bias.
TABLE I. Transistor parameters of PS/DNTT device under different biasing
conditions.
PS/DNTT device l (cm
2
V
1
s
1
)V
th
(V) SS(V/decade)
Initial 0.972 7.5 1.5
Writing 0.981 7.4 1.5
Erasing 0.961 73.2 1.6
113302-2 X. Ren and P. K. L. Chan Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 113302 (2014)
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emission spectrum). Different from the programming under
blue light, the results in Fig. 2(c) show no positive shift in
the threshold voltage when the device is programming under
red illumination. This provides direct evidence that the dif-
ferent V
th
responses induced by charge injection is related to
band gap of the active layer material.
After co nfirming the optical sensitivity in the memory
transistor and the wavelength de pende nt programming char-
acteristics, we take a step further to demonstrate its applica-
tion potential by measuring the charge retention properties.
The DNTT tran sistor can maintain stable charging states af-
ter progr amming or erasing and the I
DS
values are shown in
Fig. 2(d). The high and low values of I
DS
repr esent the “on”
and “off” state of memory transistor device. Both of the on
and off currents were measured in the dark at zero gate bias.
After 10
4
s, the on and off current only show a slight decay
and the on/off ratio (large r than 10
5
) remains largely the
same. From the extrapolation in Fig . 2(d), we believed the
on and off states can retain for more than 10
7
s. To further
confirm the long retention time is not a bulk effect in the
DNTT but the presence of the electron traps in the PS , we
measured the in-plane current of a DNTT thin fil m under the
same bl ue LED illumination but without PS electret or gate
electrode bias. The measured current in the inset of Fig. 2(e)
shows a significant increase once the LED is on and it con-
tinue to increase during t he 10 s of illumination. Onc e the
LED is turned off, the current drops rapidly in less than
50 ms . It demonstrates that t he long lastin g on current in
Fig. 2(d) is caused by the photo excited charges in the
DNTT thin film under blue illumination, while the electrical
field from the gate bias an d the electret layer are needed for
the charge injection and storage, respectively. The two
transfer curves in Fig. 2(e) ar e measured before and after
10 s of blue LED illumination and zero gate bias applied
during that 10 s, the overlapping of the two transfer curves
confirms optical excitation solely cannot activate the mem-
ory property in the current PS/DNTT transistor device and
electrical bias is ne eded.
For the multi-level charge storage, we need to have ad-
justable shift in the threshold voltages of the transistor. We
achieve this by modulating the output power of the blue
LED from 20 lWcm
2
to 20 mW cm
2
while keeping the
writing bias at þ100 V. Fig. 3(a) shows different levels of
threshold voltage shift can be obtained by varying the inten-
sity of the blue LED. In between each transfer curve scan in
Fig. 3(a),a150 V erasing bias is applied to reset the mem-
ory transistor to the erased state. Fig. 3(b) summarizes the
relationship between the shift of the threshold voltage and
the LED light intensities under programing bias of þ100 V.
Unlike the light-charge organic memory device based on the
small molecule charge trapping layer
22
in which the erased
state V
th
is close to 0 V. The holes trapping ability of PS
allows the erased state started from a more negative V
th
value which is 73.2 V, and thus the maximum positive V
th
FIG. 2. (a) Absorbance of 40 nm DNTT thin film grown on quartz glass, inset of Fig. 2(a) shows the emission spectrum of blue and red LED light source.
(b) Transfer I-V of PS/DNTT transistor memory device, 1st line is the initial state without any bias and light irradiation, 2nd line is the device erasedby
150 V gate bias, 3rd line is the device writing with þ150 V gate bias at the same time blue LED irradiation, 4th line is the device erased by 150 V gate bias
after obtaining the 3rd line. (c) Transfer I-V of PS/DNTT device at erased state and after applied a þ150 V gate bias together with red or blue light irradiation.
(d) Measured retention time of DNTT transistor memory device after writing and erasing. The black and red lines are the extrapolation results. (e) Transfer I-V
of PS/DNTT device before and after blue LED irradiation but without applying gate bias, inset of Fig. 2(e) shows the current response of DNTT thin film under
light irradiation.
113302-3 X. Ren and P. K. L. Chan Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 113302 (2014)
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shift is 97 V at a saturated light intensity of 20 mW cm
2
.In
the log-log plot of Fig. 3(b), the DV
th
has a linear relation-
ship with light intensity up to 1 mW cm
2
and the DV
th
would become saturated at high light intensity. In the linear
region, there are sufficient trapping states in PS electret to
trap the photo-induced charges effectively. The variation of
the threshold voltage in this linear region is limited by the
number of photo-induced charges in the DNTT thin film. On
the other hand, the saturation of DV
th
at the higher light in-
tensity is due to the limited number of charge trapping states
in PS electret, which also limits the maximum detectable
light intensity. To overcome this sensing limit in order to fur-
ther extend it to higher optical intensity, new type of electret
material with higher traps states density can be applied or
used lower molecular weight of PS to enhance the chain-end
density for charge trapping.
24
The DR value of phototransistor is an important parame-
ter to describe the device performance. Tong and Forrest
have shown an optical sensor based on subphthalocyanine
(SubPc) with a dynamic range of 12 bits for 580 nm mono-
chromic light.
15
As mentioned earlier, the dynamic range of
the photo sensor is defined as
DR ¼ log
2
I
ill;max
I
dark
I
ill;min
I
dark

; (1)
where I
ill,max
and I
ill,min
are the maximum and minimum sen-
sible current change under the writing bias and LED
FIG. 3. (a) Transfer I-V of PS/DNTT device writing with þ100 V gate bias and different incident light intensities, the dotted line is plotted at V
G
¼60 V in
Fig. 3(c). The device was erased by 150 V gate bias for 10 s after each measurement to guarantee the same starting state for each measurement. (b) Threshold
voltage shift of transistor as a function of incident LED power intensity. (c) Drain-source current value at V
G
¼60 V obtained from Fig. 3(a) plotted against
LED power intensity, the leftmost point represents the current measured in the dark.
FIG. 4. Schematic diagram of a tran-
sistor based optical sensor device. The
output drain-source current (I
DS
)is
decided by the incident light energy
(h). Inside the lower gray box is the
schematic drawing of the optical sens-
ing and data storage mechanisms of
current transistor optical memory de-
vice. Drawing along the x-axis is the
operating time sequence of the device,
and y-axis represents the variation of
incident light intensity.
113302-4 X. Ren and P. K. L. Chan Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 113302 (2014)
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11 Dec 2009-Science
TL;DR: A sensor matrix is realized that detects the spatial distribution of applied mechanical pressure and stores the analog sensor input as a two-dimensional image over long periods of time by integrating a flexible array of organic floating-gate transistors with a pressure-sensitive rubber sheet.
Abstract: Using organic transistors with a floating gate embedded in hybrid dielectrics that comprise a 2-nanometer-thick molecular self-assembled monolayer and a 4-nanometer-thick plasma-grown metal oxide, we have realized nonvolatile memory arrays on flexible plastic substrates. The small thickness of the dielectrics allows very small program and erase voltages (≤6 volts) to produce a large, nonvolatile, reversible threshold-voltage shift. The transistors endure more than 1000 program and erase cycles, which is within two orders of magnitude of silicon-based floating-gate transistors widely employed in flash memory. By integrating a flexible array of organic floating-gate transistors with a pressure-sensitive rubber sheet, we have realized a sensor matrix that detects the spatial distribution of applied mechanical pressure and stores the analog sensor input as a two-dimensional image over long periods of time.

824 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Infrared photodetectors based on single-layer CVD-grown graphene and PbS quantum dots, which are fabricated by solution processing, show ultrahigh responsivities of up to 10(7) A/W under infrared light illumination.
Abstract: 12 ] Therefore, graphene-based IR detectors have much lower responsivities than photoconductors based on QDs. It is reasonable to consider that the responsivity of a graphene-based IR detector can be improved substantially by modifying the graphene fi lm with QDs, which can absorb IR light more effi ciently. On the other hand, if the carriers gener-ated by IR light can transfer to the graphene fi lm, their mobility will be much higher and thus the responsivity will be dramati-cally improved for a QD-based IR detector. Moreover, an array of graphene devices can be easily patterned by state-of-the-art techniques and this could possibly lead to elimination of the crosstalk between neighboring pixels that occur in silicon devices.

597 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: electrets. In this Communication, we report on OFET memory devices built on silicon wafers and based on films of pentacene and an SiO2 gate insulator that are separated by a thin layer of poly(a-methylstyrene) (PaMS), which acts as a polymeric gate dielectric. This OFET memory device displayed reversible shifts in the threshold voltage (VTh) when an appropriate gate voltage (Vg) was applied above a certain threshold via a relatively short switching time. Based on these reversible shifts in VTh, a non-volatile organic memory was demonstrated that takes advantage of the simple configuration of a typical OFET. This device showed a large memory window (about 90 V), a high on/off ratio (IOn/IOff) (10 5 ), a short switching time (less than 1 ls), and a long retention time (more than 100 h). These memory characteristics were obtained only when an appropriate polymeric gate electret layer (e.g., PaMS) was inserted between the SiO2 gate insulator and the pentacene channel in the typical OFET structure. Therefore, it is possible that this behavior originates from the modulation of the gate field by stored charges in the polymeric gate electret. Detailed reasons for these results and a possible operating mechanism for our OFET memory device are discussed. A cross-sectional view of the fabricated device structure is shown in Figure 1a. Further details concerning the fabrication of this device are discussed in the Experimental section. Figure 1b and c shows the output and transfer characteristics of the devices, respectively. The results indicate reasonably good OFET behavior, suggesting the additional PaMS layer does not degrade the performance of the devices. [14] From the conventional characterization equation, [15] the measured values of the typical field-effect mobility (lFET), VTh, and IOn/IOff were 0.51 cm 2 V –1 s –1 (maximum value, 0.89 cm 2 V –1 s –1 ), – 19 V, and 10 5 , respectively. These transistor properties could

273 citations