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Sensors 2015, 15(1), 2086-2103;

The Enhanced Formaldehyde-Sensing Properties of P3HT-ZnO Hybrid Thin Film OTFT Sensor and Further Insight into Its Stability

State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, School of Optoelectronic Information, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu 610054, China
Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology (TNList), Institute of Microelectronics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 18 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Technologies for Sensing Pollution in Air, Water, and Soil)
PDF [5834 KB, uploaded 19 January 2015]


A thin-film transistor (TFT) having an organic–inorganic hybrid thin film combines the advantage of TFT sensors and the enhanced sensing performance of hybrid materials. In this work, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT)-zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles’ hybrid thin film was fabricated by a spraying process as the active layer of TFT for the employment of a room temperature operated formaldehyde (HCHO) gas sensor. The effects of ZnO nanoparticles on morphological and compositional features, electronic and HCHO-sensing properties of P3HT-ZnO thin film were systematically investigated. The results showed that P3HT-ZnO hybrid thin film sensor exhibited considerable improvement of sensing response (more than two times) and reversibility compared to the pristine P3HT film sensor. An accumulation p-n heterojunction mechanism model was developed to understand the mechanism of enhanced sensing properties by incorporation of ZnO nanoparticles. X-ray photoelectron spectroscope (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) characterizations were used to investigate the stability of the sensor in-depth, which reveals the performance deterioration was due to the changes of element composition and the chemical state of hybrid thin film surface induced by light and oxygen. Our study demonstrated that P3HT-ZnO hybrid thin film TFT sensor is beneficial in the advancement of novel room temperature HCHO sensing technology. View Full-Text
Keywords: TFT; P3HT-ZnO; formaldehyde gas sensor; heterojunction; stability TFT; P3HT-ZnO; formaldehyde gas sensor; heterojunction; stability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tai, H.; Li, X.; Jiang, Y.; Xie, G.; Du, X. The Enhanced Formaldehyde-Sensing Properties of P3HT-ZnO Hybrid Thin Film OTFT Sensor and Further Insight into Its Stability. Sensors 2015, 15, 2086-2103.

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