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Infrared spectroscopy depth profiling of organic thin films

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Organic thin films are widely used in organic electronics and coatings. Such films often feature film-depth dependent variations of composition and optoelectronic properties. State-of-the-art depth profiling methods such as mass spectroscopy and photoelectron spectroscopy rely on non-intrinsic species (vaporized ions, etching-induced surface defects), which are chemically and functionally different from the original materials. Here we introduce an easily-accessible and generally applicable depth profiling method: film-depth-dependent infrared (FDD-IR) spectroscopy profilometry based on directly measuring the intrinsic material after incremental surface-selective etching by a soft plasma, to study the material variations along the surface-normal direction. This depth profiling uses characteristic vibrational signatures of the involved compounds, and can be used for both conjugated and non-conjugated, neutral and ionic materials. A film-depth resolution of one nanometer is achieved. We demonstrate the application of this method for investigation of device-relevant thin films, including organic field-effect transistors and organic photovoltaic cells, as well as ionized dopant distributions in doped semiconductors.

Graphical abstract: Infrared spectroscopy depth profiling of organic thin films

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Article information

25 Dec 2020
10 Feb 2021
First published
11 Feb 2021

Mater. Horiz., 2021, Advance Article
Article type

Infrared spectroscopy depth profiling of organic thin films

J. Yu, Y. Xing, Z. Shen, Y. Zhu, D. Neher, N. Koch and G. Lu, Mater. Horiz., 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0MH02047H

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