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JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 100, 024509 共2006兲

An experimental study of contact effects in organic thin film transistors


D. J. Gundlach,a兲 L. Zhou, J. A. Nichols,b兲 and T. N. Jackson
The Department of Electrical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University,
121 Electrical Engineering East, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
P. V. Necliudovc兲 and M. S. Shur
The Department of Electrical Engineering, CII, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 8th Street, Troy, New York 12180
共Received 16 February 2006; accepted 15 May 2006; published online 25 July 2006兲
We report on parasitic contact effects in organic thin film transistors 共OTFTs兲 fabricated with
pentacene films. The influence on the OTFT performance of the source and drain contact metal and
the device design was investigated. Top contact 共TC兲 and bottom contact 共BC兲 gated transmission
line model 共gated-TLM兲 test structures were used to extract the combined parasitic contact
resistance as a function of gate voltage swing and drain-source voltage for OTFTs with gold source
and drain contacts. For comparison BC test structures with palladium contacts were studied.
Differences in the bias dependence of the contact resistance for TC and BC OTFTs indicate that
charge injection and device performance are strongly affected by the device design and processing.
The results from this investigation show that TC and BC device performances may be contact
limited for high mobility OTFTs with channel lengths less than 10 ␮m. © 2006 American Institute
of Physics. 关DOI: 10.1063/1.2215132兴

I. INTRODUCTION The strong influence on OTFT performance of the


source and drain contact metal was observed as early as 1996
In recent years there have been significant improvements
by Lin et al.9 when reporting on contact doping and the
in the performance of organic thin film transistors
combined parasitic contact resistance 共R P兲 for alpha-
共OTFTs兲.1,2 State-of-the-art OTFTs based on small-molecule
sexithiophene TFTs as extracted from gated transmission line
semiconductors which are fabricated in university and indus-
model 共gated-TLM兲 test structures.13,14 A measure of the
trial research laboratories have electrical characteristics that
technological importance of reducing contact related effects
are similar to those of hydrogenated amorphous silicon
is the recent increase in contact resistance studies for OTFTs
共a : Si: H兲 TFTs 共field-effect mobility near 1 cm2 / V s, on/off
and organic single crystal FETs that make use of gated-TLM
current ratio as large as 108, near zero threshold voltage, and
test structures, scanning potential imaging, and gated-four-
subthreshold swing of less than 1 V/decade兲.3–8 Most OTFT
terminal structures.15–28 Many of these studies, however,
studies have concentrated on optimizing the deposition of the
have been limited to a single contact metal or device design,
organic semiconductor film and the surface properties of the
and contact related effects have not been considered more
gate insulator to improve the field-effect mobility. A conse-
generally; i.e., in relation to the device processing, choice of
quence of realizing higher field-effect mobility is that the
contact metal, and device design.
parasitic contact effects in OTFTs have become more pro-
We report here on parasitic contact effects in pentacene
nounced. Understanding and reducing these effects are of
TFTs fabricated using different designs and contact metals.
great technological importance since they limit the OTFT
We first discuss generally the influence of the choice of the
performance; most severely in the linear regime where TFTs
contact metal and the device design 共with related processing兲
are operated in applications such as active matrix displays.
on the discrete device performance of OTFTs. Next we re-
Single crystal silicon metal-oxide-semiconductor field-
port on R P of pentacene TFTs with gold 共Au兲 contacts ex-
effect transistors 共MOSFETs兲, polycrystalline Si TFTs, and
tracted from top contact 共TC兲 and bottom contact 共BC兲
a : Si: H TFTs all make use of doped regions to form Ohmic
gated-TLM test structures, and its dependence on the device
contacts and restrict the charge injection and transport to a
bias and design. The bias dependence of the field-effect mo-
single carrier type. Early attempts to selectively dope the
bility of the charge in the device channel is reported, and
contact regions of OTFTs by intercalating electron accepting
limitations in device scaling are discussed relative to the con-
molecules, such as FeCl3 or I2, proved to be challenging.9
tact limited performance for each device design. For com-
Since then, only limited work has been done to find suitable
parison, we report on BC pentacene TFTs with palladium
“doping” methods10–12 so Schottky source and drain contacts
共Pd兲 contacts which were fabricated in parallel.
are normally formed.

a兲
Present address: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithers-
II. DEVICE FABRICATION AND PARAMETER
burg, MD 20899; FAX: 301 975 8069; electronic mail: EXTRACTION
david.gundlach@nist.gov
b兲
Present address: 3M, St. Paul, MN 55114. Discrete pentacene TFTs 关the chemical structure of pen-
c兲
Present address: Intel, Hudson, MA. tacene is shown in Fig. 1共a兲兴 were fabricated using BC and

0021-8979/2006/100共2兲/024509/13/$23.00 100, 024509-1 © 2006 American Institute of Physics

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024509-2 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

and the remaining metals were deposited by ion beam sputter


共IBS兲 deposition. IBS deposition was found to produce films
with substantially reduced rms surface roughness when com-
pared to films deposited by thermal evaporation;34,35 a pro-
cess detail that may be important for improved pentacene
film morphology at the contact edge, and for improved
charge injection. BC OTFTs with Au, Pd, and Ni source and
drain contacts are discussed in detail: for brevity, only quali-
tative comparisons are made to the OTFTs with Cu and Pt
contacts. Discrete devices had channel lengths 共L兲 of
2 – 100 ␮m and channel widths 共W兲 of 220 or 270 ␮m.
TC OTFTs were fabricated by thermally evaporating the
source and drain contact metal 关Au, Ni, Cu, and Indium 共In兲兴
through a shadow mask to define contacts directly on the
blanket layer of pentacene. Thermal evaporation is used in an
effort to minimize the damage to the organic film and the
metal penetration which can occur when using high energy
deposition techniques, such as IBS or electron beam evapo-
ration. Photolithography is not used to pattern contacts on
top of the pentacene because the electrical properties of the
pentacene film are degraded when exposed to solvents used
in conventional photolithographic processing.36 Discrete de-
vices had L of 20 to 35 ␮m and W of 220– 230 ␮m.
R P was extracted from the electrical characteristics of
the TC and BC gated-TLM test structures 关having the same
cross section shown in Figs. 1共b兲 and 1共c兲, respectively兴.
FIG. 1. Schematic of the 共a兲 chemical structure of pentacene, 共b兲 top contact
共TC兲, and 共c兲 bottom contact 共BC兲 OTFT test structures. Series of adjacent metal strips were patterned to form alter-
nating source and drain contacts with a constant strip width
共channel width W兲. An increasing separation between adja-
TC OTFT test structures 关shown schematically in Figs. 1共b兲 cent strips provided for OTFTs with progressively longer L.
and 1共c兲, respectively兴. For clarity we note that BC and TC To reduce the sample-to-sample variation the test structures
OTFTs are also commonly referred to as inverted-staggered were fabricated sequentially and in close proximity on the
and inverted-coplanar TFTs, respectively. A heavily doped same wafer. Specifically, the BC electrodes were patterned
n-type silicon wafer was used as the substrate and gate elec- and immediately following the gate dielectric preparation
trode; where gate contact was made to the wafer backside. and pentacene deposition the TC electrodes were patterned.
The thermally grown SiO2 provided a high quality gate in- The BC test structures had dimensions of L = 2, 5, 10, 20, 50,
sulator. All of the devices in this study had a SiO2 gate in- and 100 ␮m and W = 270 ␮m, and the metal strips were
sulator thickness of 290 or 333 nm. The pentacene films 100 ␮m long. The TC test structure had dimensions of L
were deposited by thermal evaporation in a dedicated = 30, 60, 80, 90, 110, and 160 ␮m and W = 1200 ␮m, and the
vacuum system with a base pressure of 2 ⫻ 10−5 Pa onto metal strips were 80– 110 ␮m long. The quality of the active
heated substrates 共Tsub = 60 ° C兲. All films were deposited at a layer in the channel region was assumed to be the same for
rate near 0.5 Å / s, and those used for fabricating OTFTs had both test structures.
an average thickness of 500 Å. Prior to depositing the pen- The dc electrical characteristics of the test structures
tacene all substrates were cleaned by successive rinsing in were measured in a nitrogen glove box at room temperature
hot acetone and hot isopropyl alcohol, and were briefly ex- using an Agilent 4156C Semiconductor Parameter Analyzer.
posed to ultraviolet light and ozone 共UV-ozone cleaning兲. The field-effect mobility was extracted using the expressions
The substrates were scribed into pieces, and half were treated that describe the drain current 共ID兲 for crystalline
with the silane coupling agent octadecyltrichlorosilane using MOSFETs.37 From simple FET theory a linear variation of ID
a vacuum “vapor-prime” process 共VP-OTS兲 to improve the with drain-source voltage 共VDS兲 is expected for an ideal de-
carrier channel performance and the device uniformity.29–33 vice biased with a small VDS. Specifically, the channel of the
The remaining and untreated wafer pieces were used to fab- device has the characteristics of a resistor with a resistance
ricate OTFTs for control and comparison studies. that is dependent on the gate-source voltage 共VGS兲. In the
BC OTFTs were fabricated by depositing and patterning linear regime, VDS ⬍ 共VGS − VT兲, the following expression is
共by photolithography and a lift-off process兲 the source and used to describe ID:
drain contact metal directly on SiO2 gate insulator surface
prior to depositing the pentacene film 共and the VP-OTS treat- W␮Ci
ID = 关共VGS − VT兲VDS − VDS
2
/2兴. 共1兲
ment when used兲. The source and drain contact metals stud- L
ied for the BC devices are Au, Pd, platinum 共Pt兲, nickel 共Ni兲,
and copper 共Cu兲. Cu was deposited by thermal evaporation Equation 共1兲 can be simplified for VDS Ⰶ 共VGS − VT兲 to

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024509-3 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

W␮Ci
ID = 共VGS − VT兲VDS , 共2兲
L
where W is the transistor channel width, L is the transistor
channel length, ␮ is the field-effect mobility, VT is the thresh-
old voltage, and Ci is the capacitance per unit area of the gate
insulator.
In the saturation regime, VDS ⬎ 共VGS − VT兲, ID is given by
W␮Ci
ID = 共VGS − VT兲2 , 共3兲
2L
where all terms remain as previously defined.
The field-effect mobility in the linear regime was ex-
tracted from the transconductance 共gm = ⳵ID / ⳵VGS, for small
and constant VDS兲 of the device. If W, L, and Ci are known
the field-effect mobility in the linear regime is calculated FIG. 2. Output characteristics 共ID-VDS兲 at VGS = −60 V for TC pentacene
TFTs with Au, Cu, Ni, and In contacts. The device dimensions are L
from the relationship = 35 ␮m, W = 220 ␮m, and SiO2 gate insulator thickness of 290 nm. Note
Lgm 1 that ID has been scaled 共⫻103兲 for the device with In contacts.
␮= . 共4兲
WCi VDS
The field-effect mobility in the linear regime was extracted at of the contact metal. This is shown in Fig. 2, where we have
large VGS 共VGS = −40– −60 V兲 to obtain a value that better plotted the output characteristics 共ID − VDS for VGS = −60 V兲
approximates that of the mobile charger in the OTFT chan- for TC pentacene TFTs with Au, Cu, Ni, and In contacts. Au
nel. contacts are shown to provide the best performance then Cu
In the saturation regime 共VDS ⬎ VGS − VT兲, mobility was and Ni. OTFTs with In contacts have substantially reduced
extracted from the transfer characteristics 共ID − VGS character- drain current 共ID is scaled by 103 in Fig. 2兲 which may be
istics兲 plotted as 冑ID − VGS. The mobility is calculated using expected given its low work function. A feature to note in
Eq. 共3兲 by solving for ␮, Fig. 2 is the curvature at small VDS for the OTFTs with Cu

冉 冊
2L ⳵冑ID
2 and Ni contacts. This indicates significant parasitic contact
␮= . 共5兲 effects. Assuming ideal conditions 共pristine metals and no
WCi ⳵VGS in-gap interface states or contact chemistry兲 the output char-
The threshold voltage was determined from the intercept of acteristic for the OTFT with the Ni contacts should be simi-
the fitting line used to extract the mobility in the linear re- lar to that for the OTFT with the Au contacts. As shown in
gime 共ID − VGS characteristics兲 or the intercept of the fitting Fig. 2, however, a simplistic energy-band diagram only pro-
line used to extract the mobility in the saturation regime vides a guide for selecting contact metals and the use of a
共冑ID − VGS characteristics兲.38 metal with a high work function does not guarantee efficient
charge 共hole兲 injection and improved pentacene TFT perfor-
III. INFLUENCE ON OTFT PERFORMANCE OF THE mance. The significant reduction of ID for the OTFT with In
CONTACT METAL, DEVICE DESIGN, AND contacts may be considered to be consistent with the forma-
PROCESSING tion of an injection barrier at the semiconductor-contact in-
terface as predicted using a simplistic energy-band diagram,
Historically simplistic energy-band diagrams have been however, the effect on the electrical characteristics of the
used as a convenient starting point for selecting the source
film forming properties of the deposited metal, such as the
and drain contact metal. Specifically, the selection is based
tendency of In to “ball-up” on pentacene, should be fully
mainly on the alignment of the Fermi level 共EF兲 关given by
considered before attributing the reduction of ID entirely to
the work function of the metal 共␾ M 兲兴 to the relevant charge
the expected injection barrier.
transport level of the organic semiconductor while assuming
a constant vacuum level 共Evac兲. Pentacene has a reported Photoemission spectroscopy 共PES兲 studies reveal that
carrier gap EG of 2.24– 2.5 eV, and an electron affinity EA of the contact formation between organic materials and metals
approximately 4.9 eV.39 Thus efficient hole injection for ac- is complex. Dipole layer formation is observed at the inter-
cumulation mode p-channel operation might be expected face which can result in a significant energy barrier 共␾Bh兲
when a metal with a high work function, such as Au, is used even when the work function is matched to the relevant con-
to form the source and drain contacts. Similarly, a metal with duction level.40 For example, recent studies of pentacene de-
a low work function, such as calcium 共Ca兲, might be ex- posited on Au show that dipole layer formation results in an
pected to form a poor hole injecting contact but an efficient injection barrier of 0.5– 0.85 eV,40–42 and can be as large as
electron injecting contact for accumulation mode n-channel 1 eV for Au deposited on pentacene.42 The conditions used
operation. in PES studies, however, do not reflect those used in OTFT
In practice we observe that the device performance and fabrication. Thus the contact properties of OTFTs can differ
operation only partly depend on the reported work function substantially from what is predicted from PES studies. An

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024509-4 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

Figs. 3共a兲 and 3共b兲 the degree of performance degradation is


dependent on the contact metal and the biasing configuration.
ID is the largest for the OTFT with Pd–Au contacts 关Fig.
3共a兲兴 when the Au contact is biased as the source, and the
smallest for the OTFT with Pd–Ni contacts 关Fig. 3共b兲兴 when
the Ni contact is biased as the source. In comparing Figs.
3共a兲 and 3共b兲 we note that ID is essentially identical for both
devices when the Pd contact is biased as the source.
Considerable insight about the device operation is
gained from Fig. 3. Namely, OTFT performance is clearly
dominated by the charge injection process. The nearly iden-
tical output characteristics for the two devices when the Pd
contact is biased as the source indicates that charge extrac-
tion is a more efficient process, and somewhat independent
of the drain contact metals investigated in this study. Devices
with Pd–Pt contacts had performance that was better than
that with Pd–Au contacts, where as devices with Pd–Cu con-
tacts had performance that was comparable to those with
Pd–Ni contacts.
We extract from the transfer characteristics for the de-
vice with Pd–Au contacts biased in the saturation regime a
field-effect mobility and threshold voltage of 0.63 cm2 / V s
and 15 V when the Au contact is biased as the source, and
0.42 cm2 / V s and 14 V when the Pd contact is biased as the
source. For the device with Pd–Ni contacts we extract a
field-effect mobility and threshold voltage of 0.28 cm2 / V s
and −4.5 V when the Ni contact is biased as the source, and
0.43 cm2 / V s and 17 V when the Pd contact is biased as the
source. The dependence of the extracted field-effect mobility
FIG. 3. Output characteristics for BC pentacene TFTs with 共a兲 Au–Pd and and threshold voltage on the bias configuration underscores
共b兲 Ni–Pd contacts. All TFTs had dimensions of L = 10 ␮m, W = 220 ␮m,
and SiO2 gate insulator thickness of 290 nm. The dashed lines correspond to the large effect that contacts have on the extrinsic device
the devices biased with the Pd contact as the source. performance. We expect that the effective field-effect mobil-
ity of the charge in the channel and the threshold voltage for
the channel region are nearly identical for both devices. This
example of this is the apparent efficient charge injection ob- expectation is supported by the nearly identical performance
tained using Au for the TC pentacene TFT shown in Fig. 2. of all the devices when biased with the Pd contact as the
The TC OTFT test structure is the least process intensive source.
device design and has been used extensively for investigat- Scanning potential imaging was used in a previous and
ing organic semiconductor materials and optimizing film related study to image the potential drop at the contact edges
deposition conditions. Consequently, TC devices often have and in the channel of BC pentacene TFTs biased in the linear
improved device performance when compared to the perfor- regime.24 The devices reported in Ref. 24 are similar to the
mance of devices with photolithographically defined bottom ones reported here 共fabricated in parallel but without VP-
contacts. Plotted in Fig. 3 are the output characteristics for OTS treated SiO2兲. We find the magnitude of the potential
two BC pentacene TFTs with asymmetric source and drain drop at the contact edge for the different metals reported in
contact metals. The characteristics for a device with Pd–Au Ref. 24 to be consistent with the contact limited behavior
共asymmetric兲 contacts are shown in Fig. 3共a兲, and those for a shown in Fig. 3. For example, the scanning potential image
device with Pd–Ni contacts are shown in Fig. 3共b兲. The SiO2 of a device with Pd–Ni contacts in Ref. 24 showed an asym-
gate insulator of both devices was VP-OTS treated prior to metric potential drop at the source contact edge which was
depositing the pentacene film. Pd was chosen as the common dependent on the device bias configuration. The potential
electrode for all devices based on previous and extensive use drop was the largest at the Ni contact edge when it was
of smooth IBS deposited Pd to fabricate high performance biased as the source. Images of devices with Pd–Cu contacts
BC pentacene TFTs and circuits in our laboratory.4,6,7,34 De- 共not reported兲 were similar to those with Pd–Ni contacts. For
vices with Pd–Pt and Pd–Cu contacts were also studied in devices with Pd–Pt contacts the potential drop was the small-
parallel, but for brevity their electrical characteristics are not est at the Pt contact edge when it was biased as the source.
shown here. Correspondingly, the output characteristics for devices with
Using asymmetric contacts either metal electrode could Pd–Pt contacts revealed the least pronounced contact effects
be biased as the charge injecting source contact to study its when the Pt contact is biased as the source. The potential
effect on OTFT performance. Although significant contact drop at the Au contact edge when biased as the source was
effects are apparent in all output characteristics shown in smaller than that at the Pd contact edge when biased as the

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024509-5 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

source. The potential drop at the Pd contact edge was similar


for all devices when biased as the source, and intermediate in
its magnitude 共between those for Pt and Au, and those for Cu
and Ni兲. Only a small potential drop was imaged at the edge
of the drain contact regardless of the contact metal indicating
that charge extraction is an efficient process.
We find that the additional device processing required to
fabricate BC OTFTs partly contributes to the degradation of
the injection properties of the contact metals. This point is
made clearer by comparing the differences in the output
characteristics of the TC and BC pentacene TFTs with Ni
contacts 关Figs. 2 and 3共b兲兴. During patterning and substrate
cleaning processes Ni electrodes for BC OTFTs were ex-
posed to hot solvents, room air, and UV-ozone cleaning prior
to depositing the pentacene layer 共comparisons between de-
vices with untreated and VP-OTS treated show the gate di-
electric treatment does not significantly affect the injection
properties of the Ni兲. Grazing incidence PES studies con-
firmed the presence of a relatively thick oxide 共several na-
nometers兲 on our Ni films after UV-ozone exposure or oxy-
gen plasma cleaning.43 This oxide layer can be expected to
degrade charge injection. In previous studies, Pd BC devices
fabricated in our laboratory have routinely outperformed Au
BC devices. Importantly, the Pd contacts in this study were
patterned first and as a consequence the Pd was exposed to
two patterning and cleaning steps. The additional processing
increases the Pd oxide thickness and degrades charge injec-
tion 共the Pd oxide and its increasing thickness with process-
ing was also confirmed by grazing incidence PES兲.43 FIG. 4. 共a兲 Atomic force microscopy image of a 500 Å thick pentacene film
Equally important but difficult to quantify is the effect deposited on Pd 共left兲 and Au 共right兲 contacts. The region comprised of large
on the pentacene film microstructure of the contact in BC dendritic-shaped grains between the metal strips corresponds to the channel
OTFTs. Figure 4共a兲 shows an atomic force microscopy of the pentacene TFT. 共b兲 Atomic force microscopy image of a 50 Å thick
pentacene film deposited on untreated SiO2. The far left edge of the image
共AFM兲 topography image of a BC pentacene TFT with Pd corresponds to growth at the edge of a thin 共125 Å thick兲 Pd contact.
共left兲–Au 共right兲 contacts; revealing that the film growth near
the contact edge is complex in OTFTs. The pentacene film
had an average thickness of 500 Å and was deposited as a studies of pentacene deposited on Au which show that the
blanket layer on top of the contacts and the SiO2 共without pentacene molecules tend to lie flat in the first molecular
VP-OTS兲. The channel region consists of dendritic-shaped layers.41,44 We expect that the surface roughness and condi-
grains 共typical for pentacene deposited on untreated SiO2兲. tioning 共presence of an oxide or self-assembling molecular
Many of the grains appear to nucleate at the edge of the layer兲 strongly influence the film growth on the metal and
contacts, and grow into the channel. Figure 4共a兲 shows the along the contact edge, and affect the charge injection and
strong influence the contacts have on film morphology in the the transport near the contact.
channel, as well as on top of the contacts. Small dendritic- Recently, a dependence of the charge injection on the
shaped grains are shown to nucleate on Pd, but an absence of film microstructure was shown by comparing the current-
structure is shown for the pentacene on Au. voltage characteristics of Au/pentacene/Au diodes with those
The rms surface roughness of IBS deposited Ni, Pt, and of Au/pentacene/conducting polymer diodes.45 AFM images
Pd films on SiO2 was 1 – 2 Å, which was comparable to that revealed that the pentacene film morphology was greatly im-
of the SiO2.34,35 We find that IBS deposited Au films on SiO2 proved on the conducting polymer electrode, and resulted in
have a rms surface roughness that increases with the thick- improved charge injection from top Au electrode. This is
ness. For example, Au films with an average thickness of consistent with the efficient charge injection from Au we
100 Å had a rms surface roughness near 1 – 2 Å, but films show for TC pentacene TFTs.
with an average thickness of 500 Å had a rms surface rough- Admittedly, Fig. 4共a兲 provides limited information about
ness of 3 – 4 Å. Au films deposited by thermal evaporation the film growth at the critical interfaces. For clarity, we show
had significantly larger rms surface roughness.43 ␪ − 2␪ x-ray in Fig. 4共b兲 the film morphology in the OTFT channel and at
diffraction scans of pentacene films deposited on Pd reveal the edge of a 125 Å thick Pd contact 共the left edge of the
the presence of structure 共nearly normally oriented molecules image兲 for a 50 Å thick pentacene film 共approximately three
which is similar to pentacene on SiO2兲 and an absence of molecular layers of pentacene兲. Far from the contact edge
significant structure on Au.43 The absence of structure on Au and in the channel the film growth is layer by layer, which is
is consistent with scanning tunneling microscopy 共STM兲 typical for thin pentacene films deposited on untreated SiO2.

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024509-6 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

AFM images of thicker films reveal a transition to the island


growth shown in Fig. 4共a兲.32 What we find most remarkable
about this image is the region near the contact edge where
the layer by layer growth in the channel stops 1 – 2 ␮m from
the contact edge. Imaged in this region is the substrate sur-
face 共darkest region兲. Nucleated along the contact edge are
terraced and dendritic-shaped grains that extend into the
channel, and which are similar in shape to those shown along
the contact edge in Fig. 4共a兲. Figure 4共b兲 clearly shows that
the connectivity between the contact and the channel of the
device is, in fact, minimal. For short channel length devices
共L ⬍ 5 ␮m兲 such film growth at the contacts may result in
“frustrated” grain boundaries 共grains that are not coordinated
and intersect in the channel兲46 which make grain boundary
effects more pronounced at room temperature than what is
normally observed in devices with longer L.
In this section we have shown that simple energy-band
diagrams provide only a guide for selecting contact metals,
and using a metal with a high work function is but one com-
ponent of achieving efficient charge 共hole兲 injection into the
field-accumulated pentacene TFT channel. The choice of de-
vice design strongly affects the device performance. The pro-
cessing used to fabricate BC OTFTs can adversely affect the
injection properties of metals that provide efficient charge
injection in TC OTFTs. Carrier injection at the source is
shown to dominate the device operation and carrier extrac-
tion at the drain is shown to be largely independent of the
choice of contact metal. Importantly, we show that the ex-
tracted parameters used to describe the TFT characteristics FIG. 5. 共a兲 Output characteristics at VGT = −20 V for BC pentacene TFTs
are extrinsic device parameters that strongly depend on with Au contacts having dimensions of L = 2, 10, 20, and 100 ␮m, W
charge injection. The presence of the contacts in the BC = 270 ␮m, and SiO2 gate insulator thickness of 333 nm. 共b兲 The output
OTFT design are shown to affect the film morphology and characteristics from Fig. 5共a兲 normalized and plotted on a logarithmic scale
共solid lines兲 and ID calculated using the relationship given in Eq. 共1兲 after
the contact-channel connectivity; complicating any micro- correcting for contact effects 共open circles兲.
scopic understanding of charge injection and transport at the
contacts.
Replotting the characteristics in Fig. 5共a兲 共normalized for
W / L = 1兲 on a logarithmic scale as shown in Fig. 5共b兲 for
IV. PARASITIC CONTACT RESISTANCE AND
VDS = −10−3 – −20 V reveals more about the contact limited
CHANNEL MOBILITY behavior and the type of contact formed. As expected, the
normalized curves do not overlap. Two notable features are
A. Discrete OTFT performance and contact effects the linear variation of ID with VDS for VDS ⬍ −0.1 V and the
The output characteristics 共VGS − VT = −20 V兲 for several superlinear increase of ID between VDS = −0.5 and −5 V.
BC pentacene TFTs with Au contacts which comprise the Both features are consistent with the formation of a
gated-TLM test structure are plotted in Fig. 5共a兲. The devices Schottky-like barrier. The contact resistance is large and
had dimensions of L = 2, 10, 20, and 100 ␮m and W nearly constant for VDS much smaller than the diode turn-on
= 270 ␮m. Simple FET theory 关see Eq. 共1兲兴 predicts mono- voltage; giving rise to the linear dependence for VDS
tonic behavior with conductance that increases for VDS ⬍ 0.1 V. The current increases superlinearly for VDS near the
→ 0 V, however, the curvature in the output characteristics turn-on voltage and finally the channel characteristics of the
for small VDS reveals decreasing conductance for VDS transistor become apparent in the output characteristics for
→ 0 V 共nonlinear parasitic contact effects兲. The output char- VDS above the turn-on voltage. Similar observations have
acteristics are shown for a fixed gate-source voltage above been reported for contacts to BC polymer TFTs 共Ref. 47兲 and
threshold 共VGT = VGS − VT兲, which is also referred to as the BC pentacene TFTs with Pd contacts.18 ID was calculated
gate voltage swing. Ideally, devices with identical active lay- using Eq. 共1兲 for W / L = 1 and a constant field-effect mobility
ers should have the same channel sheet resistance 共Rsh兲 for a of 0.66 cm2 / V s for comparison to theory, and is plotted in
given VGT, and thus the output characteristics should scale Fig. 5共b兲 共open circles兲.48 ID agrees well with that measured
with W / L in accordance with Eqs. 共2兲 and 共3兲. A notable for the OTFT with L = 100 ␮m for VDS ⬎ −5 V, but for
feature of Fig. 5共a兲 is that ID does not scale with L indicating smaller VDS the error is large since the potential drop due to
that ID is limited by the parasitic contact resistance rather R P has not been accounted for in Eq. 共1兲. The roll-off of ID at
than the resistance of the organic semiconductor film. large VDS in the measured and calculated characteristics is

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024509-7 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

FIG. 6. Lumped element BC TFT model 共adapted from Ref. 16兲.

due to channel narrowing 共pinch-off兲 at the drain end of the


device. A simple lumped element model for BC TFTs which
has been employed with limited success takes the form of
tandem antiparallel Schottky diodes in series with the intrin-
sic OTFT; where the diodes are usually characterized by
large ideality factors with little physical meaning.49
As reported in Ref. 16, a more accurate fit to the data
over a wider voltage range is achieved using the lumped
element model shown in Fig. 6. The injection process for BC
TFTs is modeled using antiparallel Schottky diodes and a
high-value shunt resistor: placed at each contact to maintain
device symmetry. The Schottky diodes contribute very little
to the current conduction for VDS below the diode turn-on
voltage. In this region of device bias the extrinsic device
resistance is dominated by the shunt resistance and the
current-voltage characteristics are linear, as shown in Fig.
5共b兲. The two additional resistors RC placed in series account
for the resistance associated with the charge transport
through the low-mobility or depleted “bulk” region adjacent
the metal/semiconductor interface. Gate-source and gate- FIG. 8. 共a兲 Output characteristics for a TC pentacene TFT with Au contacts
drain resistors RL account for the leakage between these ter- having dimensions of L = 30 ␮m, W = 1200 ␮m, and SiO2 gate insulator
thickness of 333 nm. 共b兲 Saturation 共open circles兲 and linear 共open triangles兲
minals 共negligible compared to ID兲. regime field-effect mobility vs L.
Figure 7 shows saturation and linear regime field-effect
mobility versus L. Field effect mobility was extracted using
the relationships given by Eqs. 共4兲 and 共5兲. The apparent slope 共S兲, and on/off current ratio 共ION / IOFF兲 on L; VT
dependence of the mobility on L shows the extracted mobil- = 5 ± 2 V, S near 1 V/decade, and ION / IOFF near 107.50
ity to be an extrinsic device parameter dependent on R P and The output characteristics for a TC OTFT with Au con-
not the effective field-effect mobility of charge in the chan- tacts having dimensions of L = 30 ␮m and W = 1200 ␮m are
nel. The large difference in the linear and saturation region shown in Fig. 8共a兲. In contrast to Fig. 5共a兲, Fig. 8共a兲 shows
field-effect mobility is expected given that the conductance is
FET behavior in closer agreement to theory, i.e., conductance
severely limited for small VDS. For these devices we found
is maximum for VDS → 0 V and shows monotonic behavior.
no strong dependence of the threshold voltage, subthreshold
This behavior indicates the absence of a significant Schottky
barrier 共see discussions in Sec. VII兲. The output characteris-
tics of TC OTFTs having longer L 共and comprising the
gated-TLM test structure兲 also showed the absence of curva-
ture at small VDS.
Figure 8共b兲 shows saturation and linear regime field-
effect mobility versus L. The mobility in the saturation re-
gime is nearly constant 共␮ ⬃ 0.6 cm2 / V s兲 over the range of
L. Similarly, field-effect mobility in the linear regime is
nearly constant; decreasing slightly for L = 30 ␮m. In this
study L was limited by the device dimensions available on
our shadow mask. The small decrease in mobility which we
noted for L = 30 ␮m, however, may indicate that R P is com-
parable to Rch for L ⬍ 30 ␮m. Other device parameters were
similar for the TC OTFTs 共VT = 10± 2 V, S near 1 V/decade,
FIG. 7. Extrinsic saturation 共open circles兲 and linear 共open triangles兲 regime and ION / IOFF greater than 106兲 and showed no dependence on
field-effect mobility vs L for the BC pentacene TFTs with Au contacts. L.

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024509-8 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

B. Parasitic contact resistance extraction and


functional dependence on bias
The parasitic source and drain contact resistances 共RS
and RD, respectively兲 are accounted for in expressions that
relate the effective gate-source 共V⬘GS兲 and drain-source volt-
age 共V⬘DS兲 to their externally applied voltages through the
potential drop across the parasitic resistances. These effec-
tive voltages are given by
V⬘GS = VGS − IDRS , 共6兲

V⬘DS = VDS − ID共RS + RD兲, 共7兲

and can be used to correct for the series contact resistances in


Eqs. 共2兲 and 共3兲. Inserting Eqs. 共6兲 and 共7兲 into Eqs. 共2兲 and
共3兲 yields FIG. 9. Width normalized RON for BC pentacene TFTs with Au source and
drain contacts plotted as a function of channel length for different VGT.
W␮Ci
ID = 共V⬘GS − VT兲V⬘DS , 共8兲
L tional to RS and RD, respectively兲 in OTFTs was shown to be
asymmetric preventing a simple correction of V⬘GS.24–28
W␮Ci Width normalized R p vs VGT for different VDS is plotted
ID = 共V⬘GS − VT兲2 . 共9兲
2L in Fig. 10共a兲 on a logarithmic scale for BC OTFTs. For small
VDS, R p is weakly dependent on VGT. This large and nearly
If RS and RD are known and constant 共bias independent兲 their constant value resistance validates the use of the shunt resis-
parasitic effects are easily corrected using Eqs. 共8兲 and 共9兲. tors in the lumped element model shown in Fig. 6. With
The extrinsic OTFT can be simplistically viewed as the increasing VDS R p shows a stronger dependence on VGT vary-
series combination of the intrinsic OTFT resistance and the ing roughly as VGT−n with n ⬃ 2 for VDS = −5 V. The assump-
parasitic source and drain contact resistances. Thus for small
VDS the measured resistance of the extrinsic device 共RON de-
fined as ⳵VDS / ⳵ID兲 when modeled as the series combination
of Rch, RS, and RD, is given by
L
RON = Rch + RS + RD ⬇ + RP , 共10兲
W␮Ci共VGS − VT兲

where R P = RS + RD. Importantly, Rch as defined by Eq. 共10兲 is


still an approximation since the externally applied VGS is
used rather than V⬘GS.
RON for the gated-TLM test structures biased in the lin-
ear regime was extracted for different VGT. The conductance
for TC devices showed the dependence on VDS predicted by
FET theory and the extraction of RON was straightforward,
but RON for BC devices had to be extracted for several values
of VDS 共VDS = −0.1, −1, and −5 V兲 because ID varied nonlin-
early with VDS. Figure 9 shows the width normalized RON vs
L extracted for the BC gated-TLM test structure with Au
contacts and plotted for the different VGT and VDS = −1 V.
Width normalized RON for a device with zero channel length
is extrapolated by fitting lines to the data, and yields the
width normalized R P for different VGT. The fitting lines con-
verged at L ⬃ −36 ␮m and a residual resistance which was
VGT independent. The negative channel length corresponds to
twice the transfer length 共2LT, i.e., LT ⬃ 18 ␮m兲 and gives an
estimate of the contact area 共WLT兲 participating in charge
injection and extraction. R P is divided equally between the
source and drain in devices with Ohmic contacts and allows
for the correction V⬘GS and V⬘DS 关see Eqs. 共6兲 and 共7兲兴. As-
suming the contact resistance scales linearly with W the con-
FIG. 10. 共a兲 Width normalized R P vs VGT for BC pentacene TFTs with Au
tact resistance for a contact of any W can be calculated. The contacts plotted for different VDS. 共b兲 Width normalized R P vs VGT for TC
potential drop at the source and drain contact edges 共propor- pentacene TFTs with Au contacts.

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024509-9 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

not V⬘GT, where V⬘GT = V⬘GS − VT兲. This might account for
some of the offset. The effective field-effect mobility for the
two device designs differ by less than 25% at large VGT
supporting our initial assumption that the effective field-
effect mobility of charge in the channel is similar for both
device designs. The effective field-effect mobility extracted
for the TC design at large VGT is similar to that extracted
from the characteristics of the discrete devices biased in the
linear regime 关see Fig. 8共b兲兴. In contrast, the effective field-
effect mobility for the BC design is nearly twice as large as
that extracted for the BC TFT with the longest L when biased
in the linear regime, and is similar to that extracted in the
saturation regime 共see Fig. 7兲.
A dependence of mobility on VGT similar to that in
a-Si: H TFTs is commonly observed in OTFTs. A density of
FIG. 11. Effective field-effect mobility vs VGT for BC and TC pentacene
TFTs with Au source and drain contacts. states consisting of a broad distribution of localized trap
states within the mobility gap and localized tail states near
the mobility edge can be expected for polycrystalline organic
tion of a nearly uniform sheet density of charge in the chan-
thin films; making the apparent dependence of mobility on
nel for VDS = −5 V is valid only for very large VGT. Width
VGT consistent with a multiple trap and release 共MTR兲 model
normalized R p vs VGT for TC OTFTs is plotted in Fig. 10共b兲.
like that used to describe charge transport in a-Si: H TFTs.51
R P is shown to vary superlinearly with VGT 共approximately
Initially the charge induced by the applied gate voltage fills
VGT−2兲. Interestingly, the fitting lines used to extract R p for
deep states. With increasing gate voltage the Fermi level is
TC devices converge to L ⬃ −40 ␮m 共LT ⬃ 20 ␮m兲, which is
moved into the tail states 共near the mobility edge兲 where the
nearly the same LT extracted for the BC design. In compar-
majority of the induced charge is still trapped. Given this, the
ing the dependence of R p on bias for the two device designs
mobility in Fig. 10 represents a lower limit for mobile
it is apparent that for the BC device design R p is dominated
charge. A more detailed analysis of charge transport and mo-
by a Schottky-like barrier formed at the source contact when
bility requires the extraction of the dependence of mobility
VDS is below the diode turn-on voltage. Phrased in different
on temperature which is outside the scope of these contact
way, this difference in the bias dependence for small VDS
studies.
indicates that the expected Schottky-like barrier at the metal/
semiconductor interface of the source contact does not domi-
nate device performance for the TC device design 共see de- V. DEVICE SCALING
tailed discussions in Sec. VII兲. Above the diode turn-on
voltage the bias dependence of R p is similar for the two Rsh and width normalized R P from Sec. V for each de-
device designs. In this bias range R p is most likely dominated sign were used calculate Rch and R P for OTFTs with L = 10
by the resistance associated with charge transport through the and 30 ␮m and W = 100 ␮m. Rch is dependent on the device
high resistance region between the contact interface or edge aspect ratio 共W / L兲, while R p is only dependent on W 共and
in the TC and BC device designs, respectively, and the field- VDS for BC OTFTs兲. The calculated values are plotted vs VGT
accumulated “intrinsic” channel 共see detailed discussions in in Figs. 12共a兲 and 12共b兲 for the BC and TC device designs,
Sec. VII兲. It is also worth noting that R p was similar in mag- respectively.
nitude and had the same bias dependence as that shown in Figure 12共a兲 shows that for L = 10 and 30 ␮m R p is
Figs. 10共a兲 and 10共b兲 when extracted from BC and TC pen- larger than the Rch over the entire range of VGT. This indi-
tacene TFTs fabricated without VP-OTS treated gate dielec- cates that the device performance is contact limited even for
tric. long channel length BC devices 共L ⬎ 30 ␮m兲. In contrast,
Fig. 12共b兲 shows that R p and Rch are comparable for L
C. Effective field-effect mobility of charge in the = 30 ␮m and R p is larger than Rch for L = 10 ␮m 共becoming
OTFT channel comparable to Rch only for large VGT兲. This indicates that TC
device performance is contact limited for L ⬍ 10 ␮m. The
The effective field-effect mobility for the charge in the calculated results in Figs. 12共a兲 and 12共b兲 are consistent with
channel of the OTFT was extracted for different VGT from the current-voltage characteristics of TC and BC OTFTs and
the slope of the fitting lines used to determine width normal- the decrease in the extracted extrinsic mobility for decreasing
ized R P, where the slope corresponds to Rsh and is given by L 关see Figs. 7 and 8共b兲兴.

Rsh =
⳵共WRch兲
⳵L
= 冋 1
␮Ci共VGS − VT兲
, 册 共11兲
Due to limitations in our shadow-mask design we are not
able to experimentally verify our expectation that TC OTFTs
are contact limited for L ⬍ 10 ␮m. TC OTFTs with Au con-
␮ for both device designs is plotted versus VGT in Fig. 11. tacts typically do not show significant contact effects, but to
Neglecting the offset the mobility show a similar dependence the best of our knowledge TC devices patterned by shadow
on VGT. Importantly, the data have not been corrected for the mask have not been reported on for L ⬍ 20 ␮m. Recently TC
reduction in VGT due to RS 共data are plotted as a function VGT pentacene TFTs with photolithographically defined Au con-

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024509-10 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

FIG. 13. 共a兲 Output characteristics at VGT = −18 V for BC pentacene TFTs
FIG. 12. R P and Rch vs VGT for 共a兲 BC and 共b兲 TC pentacene TFTs with Au
with Pd contacts having dimensions of L = 2, 10, 20, and 100 ␮m, W
source and drain contacts. Resistances are calculated for W = 100 ␮m, and
= 270 ␮m, and SiO2 gate insulator thickness of 333 nm. 共b兲 Extrinsic satu-
L = 10 and 30 ␮m.
ration 共open circles兲 and linear 共open triangles兲 regime field-effect mobility
vs L for the BC pentacene TFTs with Pd contacts.
tacts have been reported where the output characteristics for
devices with L = 4 ␮m show significant contact effects. The
characteristics of TC pentacene TFTs processed in parallel when compared to the characteristics shown in Fig. 5共b兲. The
with L = 20 ␮m showed negligible contact effects.52 extrinsic field-effect mobility is plotted vs L in Fig. 13共b兲 for
In this section we have shown that the extrinsic perfor- the devices biased in the linear and saturation regimes. The
mance degradation due to contact effects limits device scal- trend is similar to that shown in Fig. 7, but the devices with
ing. This is of technological significance since contact effects Pd contacts have higher extrinsic field-effect mobility in both
are often neglected and it is assumed that OTFT circuit speed regimes. The extrinsic field-effect mobility of the device with
can be increased by simply reducing L 共according to theory L = 100 ␮m extracted in the linear regime is as large as
the cutoff frequency for an ideal FET is proportional to 0.71 cm2 / V s; significantly larger than that of the longest
␮ / L2兲. The results reported above place practical limits on channel length BC device with Au contacts and among the
device scaling and highlight the importance of improving highest reported to date for any OTFT biased in the linear
charge injection. regime.11,15,19 The data in Fig. 13 are consistent with our
observations that BC pentacene TFTs with Pd contacts have
better extrinsic performance when the charge injection is not
VI. PENTACENE TFTS WITH PALLADIUM SOURCE limited by an oxide layer.
AND DRAIN CONTACTS
Width normalized R p vs VGT for BC OTFTs with Pd
The output characteristics 共VGT = −18 V兲 for BC penta- contacts is plotted on a logarithmic scale in Fig. 14 for dif-
cene TFTs with Pd contacts having dimensions of L = 2, 10, ferent VDS 共for comparison we use the same scale as in Fig.
20, and 100 ␮m and W = 270 ␮m are plotted in Fig. 13共a兲. 10兲. The dependence of R p on VDS is similar to that shown
Like the characteristics for the BC devices with Au contacts for the devices with Au bottom contacts, but R p is a factor of
ID varies nonlinearly with VDS for small VDS indicating the 2–4 lower. ␮ extracted from Rsh was greater than 1 cm2 / V s
presence of a Schottky-like barrier. A qualitative comparison at large VGT, which is approximately 20% larger that ex-
of the Figs. 13共a兲 and 5共a兲, however, reveals that the contact tracted for the BC design using Au contacts 共see Fig. 11兲. We
effects are less pronounced for the devices with Pd contacts. speculate that the lower R p and higher ␮ result from an im-
Additionally, ID shows better scaling with L 共not shown兲 provement in the pentacene film microstructure at the Pd

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024509-11 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

FIG. 14. Width normalized R P vs VGT for BC pentacene TFTs with Pd


FIG. 16. Simulated output characteristics at VGS = −20 V for TC 共filled sym-
contacts plotted for different VDS.
bols兲 and BC 共open symbols兲 TFTs having Schottky contacts with injection
barriers of 0.0, 0.2, and 0.3 eV.

contacts 共compared to that at the Au contacts兲. As discussed


previously, the film microstructure is expected to influence VII. NUMERICAL MODELING: EFFECT OF THE
the charge injection at the contact, and possibly the charge DEVICE DESIGN ON THE DEVICE PERFORMANCE
transport near the contact. This is consistent with Ref. 45,
and with Wang et al.53 and Kymissis et al.54 who reported We employed two-dimensional drift-diffusion numerical
reduced contacts effects and improved extrinsic device per- modeling 共2D DDM兲 for several simplified cases to illustrate
formance for BC pentacene TFTs with Au contacts when the how the device design can affect the operation of devices
contact surface is modified with thiol molecules which im- when a Schottky barrier is formed at the contacts. Specifi-
prove the pentacene film microstructure near the contacts. cally, we made used of the 2D DDM PISCES 共WIN 32 version
Further improvements were achieved when thiols with of PISCES2B 9009兲 to simulate the electrical characteristics and
charge exchange properties were used to simultaneously the charge distributions for TC and BC TFTs. Despite
dope the contact region and improve the film micro- PISCES2B 9009 being a relatively limited simulation tool pre-
structure.11,53 dominantly used for modeling single crystal silicon and gal-
The smaller R P extracted for devices with Pd contacts lium arsenide devices it proves to be useful for this demon-
directly affects the device scaling. Rch and R P vs VGT are stration. The barrier to charge 共hole兲 injection ␾bh for metal-
plotted in Fig. 15 for L = 10 and 30 ␮m, and W = 100 ␮m 共for organic Schottky contacts was varied 共␾bh = 0.0, 0.2, and
comparison we use the same scale as in Fig. 12兲. Rch is larger 0.3 eV兲. We considered only injection via thermionic emis-
than R P over the entire range of VGT for L = 30 ␮m, while Rch sion over the contact barrier and tunneling mechanisms were
and R P are nearly equal for L = 10 ␮m. This indicates that neglected. For these preliminary simulations we chose mate-
BC device performance is contact limited for L ⬍ 10 ␮m. rial parameters suitable for pentacene: ionization potential EI
This is consistent with the discrete device performance and of 2.5 eV, EG = 2.4 eV, ␮ p,n = 1 cm2 / V s, dielectric constant
sharp decrease in the extrinsic field-effect mobility for de- of 3.0, and made basic simplifications: no in-gap trap states
vices with L ⬍ 20 ␮m 共see Fig. 13兲. in the bulk or at the interfaces. The critical device dimen-
sions for both designs were fixed 共L = 10 ␮m, tox = 250 nm,
and tpentacene = 500 Å兲. Simulations investigating similar ef-
fects were reported in Refs. 55–57, and in particular Ref. 58.
The output characteristics for the simulated TC 共filled
symbols兲 and BC TFTs 共open symbols兲 are shown in Fig. 16.
The TC and BC TFT performances are shown to be nearly
identical for ␾bh = 0.0 eV. The small decrease of ID for the
TC TFT is due to the parasitic series resistance associated
with the ungated material between the metal contact formed
on top of the organic semiconductor and the field-
accumulated channel formed at the SiO2 interface 共extending
under the contacts兲. Increasing the injection barrier to ␾bh
= 0.3 eV is shown to have a relatively small effect on ID for
TC TFTs when compared to ID for BC TFTs. Accordingly,
the extrinsic mobility calculated from the current-voltage
characteristics is smaller for BC TFTs when an injection bar-
FIG. 15. R P and Rch vs VGT of BC pentacene TFTs with Pd contacts plotted. rier is present, and it is significantly less than 1 cm2 / V s for
Resistances are calculated for W = 100 ␮m and L = 10 and 30 ␮m. ␾bh = 0.3 eV. While it is not clearly visible from Fig. 16 it is

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024509-12 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

worth noting that an injection barrier at the contacts also cessful in describing injection for OTFTs; mainly when used
results in a deviation from the ideal power law behavior to describe the extreme cases, i.e., those of negligible and
given in Eqs. 共2兲 and 共3兲. large injection barriers.62,63 For the latter case, a diffusion-
The resulting charge distributions for the barriers and limited thermionic emission model has been shown to be
designs studied are consistent with those reported in Ref. 55. insufficient to describe the temperature dependence. More
Specifically, our simulations show that for both designs and accurate numerical modeling requires the use of a realistic
regardless of the injection barrier the sheet carrier density is density of states for the semiconductor bulk and interface
nearly identical in the middle of the TFT channel for a given regions 共to include polarization effects near critical inter-
VGS above threshold. In the vicinity of the contacts the faces兲, and unambiguously separating the temperature depen-
charge density increases for the case of no injection barrier. dence of the injection process at the contact from that of the
Not surprisingly, a depletion region is formed when contacts charge transport process in the channel. Not investigated in
with an injection barrier are formed to the semiconductor of these preliminary modeling studies, but worthy of consider-
the TFT. The depletion region forms between the field- ation are 共1兲 the dependence of the threshold voltage and
accumulated channel 共at the SiO2 interface and extending saturation current on the organic semiconductor film thick-
under the contact兲 and the contact metal for the TC TFT. In ness 关which can be related to inherent 2D effects in the TC
BC TFTs the depletion region forms above the contact and design; similar to those reported for a-Si: H TFTs 共Ref. 64兲兴
along the contact edge to the channel. Thus the accumulated and 共2兲 the dependence of the extrinsic device performance
charge in the channel of the TFT is separated from the con- on the gate dielectric thickness as related to the charge and
tact edge by the depletion region. The charge distribution for electric field distribution in the device 共reduced gate dielec-
the BC TFT is strongly dependent on the device bias 共VGS tric thickness can be expected to have a beneficial influence
and VDS兲 and the width of the depletion region decreases on charge injection, and thus ␮, VT, and S兲.
with increasing charge density in the channel 共increasing
VGS兲. VIII. SUMMARY
The actual film topography 共molecular terraces, voids, or
We have investigated parasitic contact effects for OTFT
apparent grain boundaries兲, metal diffusion, and the large
device designs of technological interest and using different
contact area can be expected to contribute to the improved
contact metals. Charge injection is shown to be dependent on
contact characteristics of TC OTFTs. Should tunneling
choice of the contact metal in a nontrivial way. The device
mechanisms be considered the above deviations from the
operation and performance are shown to be dominated by
formation of an abrupt interface and the possible formation
effects related to the device design and processing, and sim-
of in-gap interface states resulting from the metal deposition
plistic energy-band diagrams are shown to be of limited use
process might favor the improved injection experimentally for selecting contact metals. The electrical characteristics of
observed in TC pentacene TFTs. Conversely, the disrupted devices with asymmetric metals for the source and drain con-
film growth 关on top of the contact and extending up to 2 ␮m tacts show that charge injection at the source contact domi-
into the channel, see Fig. 4共b兲兴 and the contact surface con- nates the extrinsic device performance. Importantly, we show
tamination resulting from processing can be expected to con- that parameters used to describe the device performance and
tribute to the degraded contact characteristics experimentally operation, such as VT and ␮, are strongly dependent on the
observed in BC pentacene TFTs. Additionally, the possible contacts and may not reflect the channel properties of the
formation of extended regions of disorder near the contact device. R P in TC and BC pentacene TFTs was determined to
may also give rise to a low- or field-dependent-mobility re- be similar to Rch and scaling studies show that OTFT perfor-
gion between the contact edge and the “intrinsic” channel of mance may be contact limited in either device design for
the device which dominates the device performance. Varia- L ⬍ 10 ␮m. These studies are in close agreement with
tions of these cases were studied in Refs. 56 and 57 for those reported simultaneously by Necliudov et al.18 and
OTFTs having contacts with and without injection barriers Klauk et al.19 Preliminary 2D DDM simulations show that
and it was shown that the incorporation of low-mobility re- BC TFT performance is more strongly affected by the for-
gions near the contacts or a field-dependent mobility for the mation of a Schottky barrier than TC TFT performance. Tun-
entire semiconductor thin film can 共even when injection bar- neling mechanisms, film morphology and microstructure,
riers are not present兲 severely limit charge injection and en- contact contamination and chemistry, and in-gap trap states
hance the nonlinearity observed in the output characteristics were not included in our preliminary simulations but are ex-
for small VDS. pected to play a critical role in determining the charge injec-
Given the above deviations from an ideal and abrupt tion efficiency and dominant injection mechanism for fabri-
contact-semiconductor interface the formation of contacts cated devices. Our results for BC devices with Pd contacts
which exhibit some nonideal Schottky-like behavior can be indicate that the film microstructure at the contacts affects
expected for either design, but such behavior is likely to be the charge injection.
more pronounced in BC TFTs. The details of the contact
formation process and resulting interface remain poorly un-
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
derstood and hinder the development of a microscopically
accurate charge injection model for OTFTs. Theoretical Financial support at the time of this study was provided
models developed to describe injection into molecular by the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency and the
solids59–61 共specifically diodes兲 have been only partly suc- Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dalgren Division, and is

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024509-13 Gundlach et al. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 024509 共2006兲

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