This feature article describes a new and facile process to fabricate a variety of thin films of non-volatile binary solute mixtures suitable for high performance organic electronic devices via electro-hydrodynamic flow of conventional corona discharge. Both Corona Discharge Coating (CDC) and a modified version of CDC, Scanning Corona Discharge Coating (SCDC), are based on utilizing directional electric flow, known as corona wind, of the charged uni-polar particles generated by corona discharge between a metallic needle and a bottom plate under a high electric field (5-10 kV cm-1). The electric flow rapidly spreads out the binary mixture solution on the bottom plate and subsequently forms a smooth and flat thin film in a large area within a few seconds. In the case of SCDC, the static movement of the bottom electrode on which a binary mixture solution is placed provides further control of thin film formation, giving rise to a film highly uniform over a large area. Interesting phase separation behaviors were observed including nanometer scale phase separation of a polymer-polymer binary mixture and vertical phase separation of a polymer-organic semiconductor mixture. Core-shell type phase separation of either polymer-polymer or polymer-colloidal nanoparticle binary mixtures was also developed with a periodically patterned microstructure when the relative location of the corona wind was controlled to a binary solution droplet on a substrate. We also demonstrate potential applications of thin functional films with controlled microstructures by corona coating to various organic electronic devices such as electroluminescent diodes, field effect transistors and non-volatile polymer memories.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science