Converting light into electrical signals is essential for a number of future applications including imaging, optical communication, and biomedical sensing. Researchers have developed a new molecular device that can detect light and translate it with high efficiency to detectable electronical current.

The high sensitivity was proven using shadow masks. (Credit: Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature)

Phototransistors are important electronic building units for capturing and converting light into electrical signals. For applications such as foldable electronic devices, organic phototransistors (OPTs) are attractive because of their flexibility, low cost, light weight, ease of large-area processing, and precise molecular engineering.

Researchers have developed a novel thin-film OPT array. Their approach is based on a small-molecule — 2, 6-diphenylanthracene (DPA) — which has a strong fluorescence anthracene as the semiconducting core and phenyl groups at 2 and 6 positions of anthracene to balance the mobility and optoelectronic properties.

The fabricated small-molecule OPT device shows high photosensitivity, photoresponsivity, and detectivity. The reported values are said to be superior to state-of-the-art OPTs. The researchers believe that DPA offers great opportunity for applications such as sensor technology or data transfer.

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