A salt solution toward better bioelectronics

14 June, 2020

​Doping is commonly used to improve performance in semiconducting devices but has not previously been successful for electron transporting or n-type, organic electronic materials. Now, an approach developed by KAUST uses a dopant, an additive that boosts the electronic performance and water stability of an n-type semiconducting polymer, to produce the first water-stable n-doped, organic electrochemical transistors, known as OECTs.

Organic electrochemical transistors comprise plastic-mixed conductors—active semiconductor layers that conduct ionic and electronic charges at the same time. These mixed conductors allow OECTs to convert ionic signals in electrolytes and biological fluids into electronic signals. However, the performance of n-type organic semiconductors lags behind that of their hole-transporting counterparts in environments dictated by biological systems, which is a major obstacle to developing logic circuits and transistor arrays.

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Image: A KAUST team has chosen a simple technique using the ammonium salt tetra-n-butylammonium fluoride as an n-dopant and the conjugated polymer P-90 as a mixed conductor.
© 2020 KAUST; Heno Hwang