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Microdiffraction imaging—a suitable tool to characterize organic electronic devices

Clemens Liewald Simon Noever Stefan Fischer Janina Roemer Tobias U. Schülli Bert Nickel

*Corresponding author: Bert Nickel nickel@lmu.de


Tailoring device architecture and active film morphology is crucial for improving organic electronic devices. Therefore, knowledge about the local degree of crystallinity is indispensable to gain full control over device behavior and performance. In this article, we report on microdiffraction imaging as a new tool to characterize organic thin films on the sub-micron length scale. With this technique, which was developed at the ID01 beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble, a focused X-ray beam (300 nm diameter, 12.5 keV energy) is scanned over a sample. The beam size guarantees high resolution, while material and structure specificity is gained by the choice of Bragg condition.
Here, we explore the possibilities of microdiffraction imaging on two different types of samples. First, we measure the crystallinity of a pentacene thin film, which is partially buried beneath thermally deposited gold electrodes and a second organic film of fullerene C60. The data shows that the pentacene film structure is not impaired by the subsequent deposition and illustrates the potential of the technique to characterize artificial structures within fully functional electronic devices. Second, we investigate the local distribution of intrinsic polymorphism of pentacene thin films, which is very likely to have a substantial influence on electronic properties of organic electronic devices. An area of 40 μm by 40 μm is scanned under the Bragg conditions of the thin-film phase and the bulk phase of pentacene, respectively. To find a good compromise between beam footprint and signal intensity, third order Bragg condition is chosen. The scans show complementary signal distribution and hence demonstrate details of the crystalline structure with a lateral resolution defined by the beam footprint (300 nm by 3 μm).
The findings highlight the range of applications of microdiffraction imaging in organic electronics, especially for organic field effect transistors and for organic solar cells.

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