Formation of aligned periodic patterns during the crystallization of organic semiconductor thin films

John S. Bangsund, Thomas R. Fielitz, Trevor J. Steiner, Kaicheng Shi, Jack R. Van Sambeek, Catherine P Clark, Russell J Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Self-organizing patterns with micrometre-scale features are promising for the large-area fabrication of photonic devices and scattering layers in optoelectronics. Pattern formation would ideally occur in the active semiconductor to avoid the need for further processing steps. Here, we report an approach to form periodic patterns in single layers of organic semiconductors by a simple annealing process. When heated, a crystallization front propagates across the film, producing a sinusoidal surface structure with wavelengths comparable to that of near-infrared light. These surface features initially form in the amorphous region within a micrometre of the crystal growth front, probably due to competition between crystal growth and surface mass transport. The pattern wavelength can be tuned from 800 nm to 2,400 nm by varying the film thickness and annealing temperature, and millimetre-scale domain sizes are obtained. This phenomenon could be exploited for the self-assembly of microstructured organic optoelectronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-731
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this work was provided by the NSF Program in Solid-State and Materials Chemistry under grant numbers DMR-1307066 and DMR-1708177. J.S.B. acknowledges support from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship under grant no. 00039202. The authors acknowledge helpful discussions with C. Teresi, as well as the groups of P. Dauenhauer, C. D. Frisbie and R. L. Penn for the use of their high-speed camera, atomic force microscope and X-ray diffractometer, respectively. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from the NSF through the MRSEC programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

MRSEC Support

  • Shared

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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