Organic transistors based on Biomaterials
Organic electronics has an astonishing potential for the development of electronic products that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable at the end of their life-cycle. An ideal solution for the production of such devices involves the fabrication of electronics either from natural materials, or from materials that have been proved to be biodegradable or biocompatible. Natural or nature-inspired small molecules have been recently successfully implemented by our group as substrates and/or dielectrics in organic field effect transistors, and exhibited performances on par with state-of-the-art synthetic compounds. Among the materials we have explored are naturally-occurring compounds like cellulose, shellac, nucleic acids, various sugars, gums and waxes, to name a few. Nature, on the other hand, constructs air stable organic molecules lacking intramolecular pi-conjugation but coupled to one another through much stronger intermolecular hydrogen bonds forces (e.g. DNA, flower and animal pigments, etc.). Despite having very limited intramolecular pi-conjugation, we could show that H-bonded semiconductors form an extensive intermolecular pi-conjugated network, with excellent charge transport and resistance to degradation.
Our group pursues a highly multi-disciplinary approach towards the investigation of novel natural and nature-inspired H-bonded semiconductors, combining film growth, characterization of various materials properties, growth and structure modelling, synthesis of novel compounds, and the inclusion of H-bonded molecules in OFET structures and high performance circuits. This represents an original research direction that can open avenues parallel to the current focus on van der Waals bonded organic semiconductors. The essential strategy is, that by providing fundamental understanding it will be possible to envision and eventually realize the full potential of this type of semiconductor materials.