Exploring organic magnetoresistance : an investigation of microscopic and device properties

F.L. Bloom

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Recently there has been much interest in combining the fields of organic electronics and spintronics. This has been motivated by the fact that low atomic mass of organic materials are predicted to have long spin lifetimes. Also, spintronic devices could benefit from the chemical tunability, ease of fabrication, and mechanical flexibility of organic semiconductors. The nascent field of organic spintronics has already presented many new phenomena which must be explained with novel physics, here we explore one of these phenomena, organic magnetoresistance (OMAR). OMAR is a room temperature spintronic effect in organic devices without any magnetic materials. OMAR is a large change in resistance (up to 25%) at low magnetic fields ( 20mT). OMAR represents a scientific puzzle since no traditional magnetoresistance mechanisms can explain the combination of properties listed above. Another one of the remarkable properties of OMAR is that the sign of the MR can change based operating conditions of the device, like temperature and voltage. In this dissertation we focused in particular on resolving the origin of the sign change since understanding this unique property should be a major step in unraveling the microscopic origin of OMAR. We have explored the properties of the sign change experimentally with bipolar semiconducting small molecule and polymer devices, in which we observed sign changes as functions of voltage and temperature. These devices showed a strong correlation between the sign change and the onset of minority charge carrier injection and we could describe the lineshape and MR(V) behavior as a superposition of two MR effects of opposite sign. From this work we concluded the separate MR effects were from the mobilities of holes and electrons having different responses to magnetic fields, which is best described by the bipolaron model for OMAR. To test this conclusion, we employed analytical and numerical device models assigning separate magnetomobilities to holes and electrons. The models show, counter-intuitively, that in the case when the minority charge carrier contact is injection limited, a decrease in minority charge carrier mobility increases the current. This is a result of the minority carrier contact acting like a constant current source, and of the compensation of the majority carrier space charge by the oppositely charged minority carriers. We show that these models describe the observed MR(V) behavior very well, and if one assumes the magnetic field acts to reduce the mobility of electrons and holes, we observe that our models can reproduce all the sign changes observed in literature. The device model also predicts how different device parameters affect the observed MR, to test its predictions we performed experiments in which we increased the charge recombination by dye doping the organic active layer, we also observed how changing the charge injection by altering the organic semiconductor/ metal contacts experimentally compared with the device model. The fact that the current can increase when the minority carrier mobility decreases may explain the fact that in experiments the magnitude of the negative MR features has been much larger than the positive MR features, even though, microscopically, the bipolaron model predicts the opposite. Therefore, the presence of both signs of magnetoresistance may be related only to the device physics and not to the microscopic mechanism which causes OMAR.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Applied Physics and Science Education
  • Koopmans, Bert, Promotor
  • Swagten, Henk J.M., Promotor
  • Kemerink, Martijn, Copromotor
Award date22 Nov 2010
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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