Energy Level Alignment at Metal/Solution-Processed Organic Semiconductor Interfaces

Ainhoa Atxabal, Slawomir Braun, Thorsten Arnold, Xiangnan Sun, Subir Parui, Xianjie Liu, Cristian Gozalvez, Roger Llopis, Aurelio Mateo-Alonso, Felix Casanova, Frank Ortmann, Mats Fahlman, Luis E. Hueso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Energy barriers between the metal Fermi energy and the molecular levels of organic semiconductor devoted to charge transport play a fundamental role in the performance of organic electronic devices. Typically, techniques such as electron photoemission spectroscopy, Kelvin probe measurements, and in-device hot-electron spectroscopy have been applied to study these interfacial energy barriers. However, so far there has not been any direct method available for the determination of energy barriers at metal interfaces with n-type polymeric semiconductors. This study measures and compares metal/solution-processed electron-transporting polymer interface energy barriers by in-device hot-electron spectroscopy and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy. It not only demonstrates in-device hot-electron spectroscopy as a direct and reliable technique for these studies but also brings it closer to technological applications by working ex situ under ambient conditions. Moreover, this study determines that the contamination layer coming from air exposure does not play any significant role on the energy barrier alignment for charge transport. The theoretical model developed for this work confirms all the experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1606901
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number19
StatePublished - 17 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • energy barriers
  • hot electron transistors
  • organic electronics
  • polymer
  • spectroscopy


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