WIAS Preprint No. 1735, (2012)

Self-heating, bistability, and thermal switching in organic semiconductors


  • Fischer, Axel
  • Pahner, Paul
  • Lüssem, Björn
  • Leo, Karl
  • Scholz, Reinhard
  • Koprucki, Thomas
    ORCID: 0000-0001-6235-9412
  • Gärtner, Klaus
  • Glitzky, Annegret
    ORCID: 0000-0003-1995-5491

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 82D37 80A20 34C55

2008 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 81.05.Fb, 73.61.Wp, 72.80.Le


  • Organic semiconductor, C60, Joule self-heating, S-shaped negative differential resistance (SNDR), thermal switching, bistability, hysteresis, Arrhenius-like conductivity law




We demonstrate electric bistability induced by the positive feedback of self-heating onto the thermally activated conductivity in a two-terminal device based on the organic semiconductor C60. The central undoped layer with a thickness of 200 nm is embedded between thinner n-doped layers adjacent to the contacts minimizing injection barriers. The observed current-voltage characteristics follow the general theory for thermistors described by an Arrhenius-like conductivity law. Our findings including hysteresis phenomena are of general relevance for the entire material class since most organic semiconductors can be described by a thermally activated conductivity.

Appeared in

  • Phys. Rev. Lett., 110 (2013) pp. 126601/1--126601/5.

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