A Universal Method to Produce Low–Work Function Electrodes for Organic Electronics

Organic and printed electronics technologies require conductors with a work function that is sufficiently low to facilitate the transport of electrons in and out of various optoelectronic devices.  We show that surface modifiers based on polymers containing simple aliphatic amine groups substantially reduce the work function of conductors including metals, transparent conductive metal oxides, conducting polymers, and graphene.  The reduction arises from physisorption of the neutral polymer, which turns the modified conductors into efficient electron-selective electrodes in organic optoelectronic devices.  These polymer surface modifiers are processed in air from solution, providing an appealing alternative to chemically reactive low–work function metals.  Their use can pave the way to simplified manufacturing of low-cost and large-area organic electronic technologies.  [Science, 20 Apr 2012]

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