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Highly Oriented Glassy Thin Films of Organic Semiconductors

Textbooks say that glasses are structurally disordered and  isotropic,  meaning  that  their  constituent molecules don’t’ form a repeating pattern and point in random directions. However, glasses made of non-spherical molecules shaped, for example, like rods or disks,  can  have  preferred  orientations  for  the molecules.

Researchers in the Wisconsin MRSEC have shown that how fast molecules move on the surface of a glass thin film as it is being grown determines the size of regions that share orientation.

The in-plane orientation of the molecules effect how they  conduct  electricity  and  interact  with  light.  In general,  more  alignment  is  better  for  applications ranging  from  flexible  transistors  to  organic  light emitting diodes to organic photovoltaics. Controlling alignment using industry standard processes and at moderate temperature will help create materials that will improve all of these technologies.