Rubrene-based single-crystal organic semiconductors: Synthesis, electronic structure, and charge-transport properties

Kathryn A. McGarry, Wei Xie, Christopher Sutton, Chad Risko, Yanfei Wu, Victor G. Young, Jean Luc Brédas, C. Daniel Frisbie, Christopher J. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Correlations among the molecular structure, crystal structure, electronic structure, and charge-carrier transport phenomena have been derived from six congeners (2-7) of rubrene (1). The congeners were synthesized via a three-step route from known 6,11-dichloro-5,12-tetracenedione. After crystallization, their packing structures were solved using single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Rubrenes 5-7 maintain the orthorhombic features of the parent rubrene (1) in their solid-state packing structures. Control of the packing structure in 5-7 provided the first series of systematically manipulated rubrenes that preserve the π-stacking motif of 1. Density functional theory calculations were performed at the B3LYP/6-31G(d,p) level of theory to evaluate the geometric and electronic structure of each derivative and reveal that key properties of rubrene (1) have been maintained. Intermolecular electronic couplings (transfer integrals) were calculated for each derivative to determine the propensity for charge-carrier transport. For rubrenes 5-7, evaluations of the transfer integrals and periodic electronic structures suggest these derivatives should exhibit transport characteristics equivalent to, or in some cases improved on, those of the parent rubrene (1), as well as the potential for ambipolar behavior. Single-crystal field-effect transistors were fabricated for 5-7, and these derivatives show ambipolar transport as predicted. Although device architecture has yet to be fully optimized, maximum hole (electron) mobilities of 1.54 (0.28) cm 2 V-1 s-1 were measured for rubrene 5. This work lays a foundation to improve our understanding of charge-carrier transport phenomena in organic single-crystal semiconductors through the correlation of designed molecular and crystallographic changes to electronic and transport properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2254-2263
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 11 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • ambipolar transport
  • crystal engineering
  • electronic band structure
  • rubrene derivatives
  • single-crystal field-effect transistors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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