Organic semiconductors are solids whose building blocks are pi-bonded molecules or polymers made up by carbon and hydrogen atoms and – at times – heteroatoms such as nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen. They exist in the form of molecular crystals or amorphous thin films. In general, they are electrical insulators, but become semiconducting when charges are either injected from appropriate electrodes, upon doping or by photoexcitation. In molecular crystals the energetic separation between the top of the valence band and the bottom conduction band, i.e. the band gap, is typically 2.5–4 eV, while in inorganic semiconductors the band gaps are typically 1–2 eV. This implies that they are, in fact, insulators rather than semiconductors in the conventional sense. They become semiconducting only when charge carriers are either injected from the electrodes or generated by intentional or unintentional doping. Charge carriers can also be generated in the course of optical excitation. It is important to realize, however, that the primary optical excitations are neutral excitons with a Coulomb-binding energy of typically 0.5–1.0 eV. The reason is that in organic semiconductors their dielectric constants are as low as 3–4. This impedes efficient photogeneration of charge carriers in neat systems in the bulk. Efficient photogeneration can only occur in binary systems due to charge transfer between donor and acceptor moieties. Otherwise neutral excitons decay radiatively to the ground state – thereby emitting photoluminescence – or non-radiatively. The optical absorption edge of organic semiconductors is typically 1.7–3 eV, equivalent to a spectral range from 700 to 400 nm (which corresponds to the visible spectrum). In 1862, Henry Letheby obtained a partly conductive material by anodic oxidation of aniline in sulfuric acid. The material was probably polyaniline. In the 1950s, researchers discovered that polycyclic aromatic compounds formed semi-conducting charge-transfer complex salts with halogens. In particular, high conductivity of 0.
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.