In this short commentary, we discuss a fundamental reason why two different semiconductor technologies are needed for complementary thin-film transistor (TFT) operations. It is mainly related to an energy-level matching between the band edge of the semiconductor and the work-function energy of the metal, which is used for the source and drain electrodes. The reference energy level is determined by the energy range of work-functions of typical metals for the source and drain electrodes. With the exception of silicon, both the conduction band edge (EC
) and valence band edge (EV
) of a single organic or inorganic material are unlikely to match the metal work-function energy whose range is typically from −4 to −6 eV. For example, typical inorganic materials, e.g., Zn–O, have the EC
of around −4.5 eV (i.e., electron affinity), so the conduction band edge is within the range of the metal work-function energy, suggesting its suitability for n-channel TFTs. On the other hand, p-type inorganic materials, such as Cu–O, have an EV
of around −5.5 eV, so the valence band edge is aligned with metal work-function energy, thus the usage for p-channel TFTs. In the case of p-type and n-type organic materials, their highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest occupied molecular orbital (LUMO) should be aligned with metal work-function energy. For example, p-type organic material, e.g., pentacene, has a HOMO level around −5 eV, which is within the range of the metal work-function energy, implying usage for p-channel TFTs. However, its LUMO level is around −3 eV, not being aligned with the metals’ work-function energy. So it is hard to use pentacene for n-channel TFTs. Along with this, n-type organic materials (e.g., C60) should have HOMO levels within the typical metals’ work-function energy for the usage of n-channel TFT. To support this, we provide a qualitative and comparative study on electronic material properties, such as the electron affinity and band-gap of representative organic and inorganic materials, and the work-function energy of typical metals.
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