The microstructure of ultrathin organic semiconductor films (1-2nm) on gate dielectrics plays a pivotal role in the electrical transport performance of these films in organic field effect transistors. Similarly, organic/organic interfaces play a crucial role in organic solar cells and organic light emitting diodes. Therefore, it is important to study these critical organic interfaces in order to correlate thin film microstructure and electrical performance. Conventional characterization techniques such as SEM and TEM cannot be used to probe these interfaces because of the requirement of conducting substrates and the issue of beam damage.
Here, we introduce a novel contact mode variant of atomic force microscopy, termed transverse shear microscopy (TSM), which can be used to probe organic interfaces. TSM produces striking, high contrast images of grain size, shape, and orientation in ultrathin films of polycrystalline organic materials, which are hard to visualize by any other method. It can probe epitaxial relationships between organic semiconductor thin film layers, and can be used in conjunction with other techniques to investigate the dependence of thin film properties on film microstructure. In order to explain the TSM signal, we used the theory of linear elasticity and developed a model that agrees well with the experimental findings and can predict the signal based on the components of the in-plane elastic tensor of the sample. TSM, with its ability to image elastic anisotropy at high resolution, can be very useful for microstructural characterization of soft materials, and for understanding bonding anisotropy that impacts a variety of physical properties in molecular systems.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2010. Major: Material Science and Engineering. Advisor: C. Daniel Frisbie. 1 computer file (PDF); 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 215 pages. Ill. (some col.)
Transverse shear microscopy: a novel microstructural probe for organic semiconductor thin films..
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