Electronic structure of hybrid interfaces for polymer-based electronics

M. Fahlman*, A. Crispin, X. Crispin, S. K.M. Henze, M. P. De Jong, W. Osikowicz, C. Tengstedt, W. R. Salaneck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


The fundamentals of the energy level alignment at anode and cathode electrodes in organic electronics are described. We focus on two different models that treat weakly interacting organic/metal (and organic/organic) interfaces: the induced density of interfacial states model and the so-called integer charge transfer model. The two models are compared and evaluated, mainly using photoelectron spectroscopy data of the energy level alignment of conjugated polymers and molecules at various organic/metal and organic/organic interfaces. We show that two different alignment regimes are generally observed: (i) vacuum level alignment, which corresponds to the lack of vacuum level offsets (Schottky-Mott limit) and hence the lack of charge transfer across the interface, and (ii) Fermi level pinning where the resulting work function of an organic/metal and organic/organic bilayer is independent of the substrate work function and an interface dipole is formed due to charge transfer across the interface. We argue that the experimental results are best described by the integer charge transfer model which predicts the vacuum level alignment when the substrate work function is above the positive charge transfer level and below the negative charge transfer level of the conjugated material. The model further predicts Fermi level pinning to the positive (negative) charge transfer level when the substrate work function is below (above) the positive (negative) charge transfer level. The nature of the integer charge transfer levels depend on the materials system: for conjugated large molecules and polymers, the integer charge transfer states are polarons or bipolarons; for small molecules' highest occupied and lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals and for crystalline systems, the relevant levels are the valence and conduction band edges. Finally, limits and further improvements to the integer charge transfer model are discussed as well as the impact on device design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183202
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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