CIRCUIT ANALYSIS METHODOLOGY FOR

ORGANIC TRANSISTORS

METHODIK ZUR SCHALTUNGSANALYSE FÜR
ORGANISCHE TRANSISTOREN
Der Technischen Fakultät der
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
zur Erlangung des Grades
DOKTOR – INGENIEUR
vorgelegt von
Jürgen Krumm
Erlangen – 2008
Als Dissertation genehmigt von
der Technischen Fakultät der
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Tag der Einreichung: 26.11.2007
Tag der Promotion: 03.03.2008
Dekan: Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. J. Huber
Berichterstatter: Prof. Dr.-Ing. W. H. Glauert
Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. R. Weigel
I
Danksagung
Diese Arbeit entstand als Ergebnis meiner wissenschaftlichen Tätigkeit am Lehrstuhl für
Rechnergestützten Schaltungsentwurf der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Ich bedanke mich bei Herrn Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfram H. Glauert für die hervorragende Be-
treuung und Begutachtung dieser Arbeit. Für die freundliche Übernahme des Zweitgutachtens
danke ich Herrn Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. habil. Robert Weigel. Bei den folgenden Personen
bedanke ich mich für die vielen fachlichen Diskussionen bzw. für das Korrekturlesen von
Kapiteln meiner Arbeit: Ahmed Amar, Dr. Robert Blache, Dr.-Ing. Markus Böhm, Dr. Hen-
ning Rost, Katharina Schätzler, Wolfgang Schirmer und Dr. Dietmar Zipperer. Ferner gilt
mein Dank den Lehrstuhlkollegen Elke Eckert, Wolfgang Magerl und Klaus Schneider, mit
denen ich an verschiedenen Projekten aus der Polymerelektronik arbeiten durfte. Besonders
bedanken möchte ich mich auch bei meinen Zimmerkollegen Thomas Bürner, Werner Haas
und Reinhard Hofmann für das nette Arbeitsumfeld. Für die organisatorische Hilfe im Vor-
feld und während der Promotionsprüfung bedanke ich mich bei Frau Roswitha Rauch, der
Sekretärin des Lehrstuhls.
Schließlich danke ich meiner Familie für ihre Unterstützung.
Erlangen, Mai 2008
Jürgen Krumm
II
Contents III
Contents
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Circuit Simulation in the Optimization of OFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2 Aim of this Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.3 Scientific Contribution of this Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.4 Outline of this Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2 Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics 7
2.1 State of the Art in Organic Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.2 Organic Semiconductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.2.1 Oligomers and Polymers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.2.2 Unipolar and Ambipolar Semiconductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.2.3 Charge Transport Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.3 Organic Field-Effect Transistors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.3.1 Device Characteristics of an OFET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.3.2 Differences between MOSFET and OFET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.4 Printing and Roll-to-Roll Fabrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.5 Chapter Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
3 OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation 19
3.1 Model Requirements for Circuit Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.2 Existing Models for OFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3.2.1 Shichman-Hodges Model (Level-1 Model) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.2.2 Model for Polycrystalline TFTs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.2.3 Model for Amorphous TFTs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.2.4 Analytic VRH Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
3.2.5 General Table-based Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
3.2.6 Dresden Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
3.2.7 Modeling of Complementary OFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
3.2.8 Modeling of Ambipolar OFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
IV Contents
3.3 Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.3.1 Procedures for the Level-1 Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.3.2 Extraction Procedures for TFT Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
3.3.3 Parameter Fitting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
3.4 Automation of Modeling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
3.4.1 Existing Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
3.4.2 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
3.5 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
4 V
Sat
Method 69
4.1 Extraction based on V
Sat
Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
4.2 Modeling based on V
Sat
Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
4.2.1 V
Sat
-Type Table-Based Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
4.2.2 Linvar Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
4.3 Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.3.1 Analysis of a Level-1 Transistor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.3.2 Analysis of Model for Polycrystalline TFTs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
4.3.3 Effect of Contact Resistance on Level-1 Model . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
4.3.4 Compensation of Contact Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
4.3.5 Analysis of a PDHTT Transistor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
4.3.6 Modeling of a P3HT Transistor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
4.3.7 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
4.4 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
5 Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits 93
5.1 Logic Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
5.1.1 Basic Circuit Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
5.1.2 Enhancements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
5.2 Circuit Characterization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
5.3 Characterization of Robustness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
5.3.1 Method of Equilibrium Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
5.3.2 Concept of Noise Margin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
5.3.3 Unity Gain Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
5.3.4 Method of Maximum Squares . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
5.3.5 VTC Gain Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
5.3.6 Discussion of Characterization Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
5.4 Timing Characterization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
5.5 Automation of Circuit Characterization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Contents V
5.5.1 Tools for Characterization of Logic Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
5.5.2 General Characterization Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
5.5.3 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
5.6 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
6 Analysis Concept 121
6.1 Typical Analysis Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
6.2 Novel Analysis Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
6.2.1 Data Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
6.2.2 Modeling System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
6.2.3 Analysis Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
6.2.4 Simulator Encapsulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
6.3 Analysis Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
6.3.1 Analysis of an Inverter in Current-Source Configuration . . . . . . . 136
6.3.2 Analysis of NOR-Gates in Current-Source Configuration . . . . . . . 143
6.3.3 Analysis of Parameter-dependent Gate Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . 146
6.4 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
7 Summary and Further Work 151
7.1 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
7.2 Further Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
A List of Symbols 155
B List of Acronyms 161
C Glossary 163
D Symbols and Truth Tables for Logic Circuits 167
E Simulation Software 169
Bibliography 170
VI
VII
Abstract
In this work, a novel computer-aided methodology for the analysis of the performance of
organic transistors (OFETs) in logic circuits is described. The basic idea of the concept is to
provide an integrated environment which includes data management, modeling of transistors,
and the automatic analysis of organic circuits. Existing OFET models as well as procedures
and software tools for extracting their model parameters are analyzed. A novel formalism
which compares the quality of models is defined using a model quality chart. Furthermore, a
novel method of extracting basic model parameters in dependence on the gate-source voltage
is detailed. It aids in visualizing which type of model best maps a given transistor. Two
transistor models are presented: a table-based model and an analytical model. Procedures for
characterizing static and dynamic behavior of basic logic circuits are discussed as well as tools
for deriving appropriate performance figures. Novel methods of extracting the robustness
of logic gates are presented. Several examples demonstrate the application of the analysis
methodology to organic logic circuits and OFET modeling issues, respectively.
Kurzfassung
In dieser Arbeit wird eine neue, Computer-gestützte Methodik zur Performanceanalyse von
organischen Transistoren (OFETs) in Logikschaltungen beschrieben. Das Konzept basiert
auf der Grundidee, eine integrierte Umgebung für die Datenverwaltung, die Modellierung
von Transistoren und die automatische Analyse organischer Schaltungen bereitzustellen. Ex-
istierende OFET-Modelle sowie Prozeduren und Software-Werkzeuge zur Extraktion der zuge-
hörigen Modellparameter werden untersucht. Ein neuer Formalismus, um die Qualität einzel-
ner Modelle mit Hilfe einer Qualitätscheckliste zu vergleichen, wird definiert. Ein neues Ver-
fahren zur Extraktion grundlegender Modellparameter in Abhängigkeit von der Gate-Source-
Spannung wird beschrieben. Das Verfahren visualisiert, durch welchen Modelltyp ein ge-
gebener Transistor am besten abgebildet werden kann. Zwei Transistormodelle werden vorge-
stellt: ein Tabellenmodell und ein analytisches Modell. Verfahren und Software-Werkzeuge,
um das statische und dynamische Verhalten grundlegender Logikschaltungen zu charakter-
isieren und zugehörige Kennzahlen zu ermitteln, werden diskutiert. Neue Methoden zur Bes-
timmung der Gatterrobustheit werden vorgestellt. Mehrere Beispiele zeigen die Anwendung
der Analysemethodik bei organischen Logikschaltungen bzw. bei Fragestellungen der OFET-
Modellierung.
VIII
1
Chapter 1
Introduction
The field of low-cost organic electronics is a relatively new topic of research in the domain
of semiconductor technology. Activities started in the 1980s by demonstrating organic field-
effect transistors (OFETs) which make use of special organic compounds for the semiconduct-
ing channel instead of crystalline silicon. These OFETs cannot compete with silicon-based
transistors regarding switching speed or packing density but provide prospects of consider-
ably reducing fabrication costs, large-area manufacturing (i.e. direct application of electronic
structures onto large substrates), or implementing mechanically flexible integrated circuits.
These advantages generate applications of OFETs where fabrication costs or flexibility are
more important than e.g. switching speed of the transistors. One example is the implemen-
tation of extremely low-cost radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. Fabrication costs
below one Cent would e.g. boost application of RFID devices as price tags in supermarkets.
Owing to their complex fabrication, silicon-based RFID tags cannot reach this price target.
Currently, low-cost organic electronics is in the early stages of development and optimiza-
tion of devices and processes. Various materials and fabrication processes are continuously
tested and optimized. Circuit simulation is an important part in this process as it provides
insight into the performance potential of existing or hypothetical OFET generations in OFET-
based circuits. In the course of circuit simulation, devices are modeled and the electrical
performance of typical application circuits is analyzed. Employing circuit simulation in the
process of optimizing devices consists of numerous iterations of modeling devices, simulating
application circuits, and extracting performance figures from simulation results. Therefore,
efficient methods of modeling OFET devices and analyzing OFET-based circuits by use of
circuit simulation are needed in order to automate the analysis process as much as possible.
This thesis describes a methodology for efficient modeling of OFETs and analysis of
OFET-based logic circuits. The basic idea is to provide a uniform analysis environment which
seamlessly integrates transistor modeling, circuit analysis of OFET-based circuits, and neces-
sary data management.
2 Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1 Circuit Simulation in the Optimization of OFETs
Fig. 1.1 shows where circuit simulation can be used in the evaluation of an OFET process.
The flow consists of manufacturing OFETs, characterizing their electrical performance or
long-term stability, and subsequently improving the process, which leads to new iterations of
the procedure.
Circuit Simulation
leads to
includes
includes
Models
Benchmark
Testbenches
improvements
Process
fabrication
Device
characterization
Device
analysis
Performance
circuits
extraction
Parameter
OFET
Testbench
Circuit
Reporting
modeling
generation
characterization
Fig. 1.1: Generic analysis flow showing the evaluation of the electrical performance of novel
OFET technologies by use of circuit simulation.
In the depicted flow, device characterization and performance analysis include circuit sim-
ulation (shaded box in the figure) where device parameters like threshold voltage or charge-
carrier mobility are extracted. From these parameters, simulation models are generated for
the OFET devices. Depending on the fabrication technology, different transistor models are
needed. Devices fabricated in a certain layer setup (bottom gate / bottom contact structure
[2, 3], see Section 2.3.1) e.g. display substantial contact resistance between the electrodes
and the channel. Models and their parameters are used in the analysis of benchmark circuits.
The term benchmark circuit refers to the fact that these circuits are used for the evaluating
and comparing different device generations. Benchmarking should be carried out with typical
application circuits like OFET-based logic circuits. Analysis of benchmark circuits requires
suitable testbenches. A testbench is a circuit setup containing the benchmark circuits and ad-
1.1. Circuit Simulation in the Optimization of OFETs 3
ditional circuitry used for extracting performance figures. Performance figures related to logic
circuits are e.g. robustness of the desired logic function against interfering noise at the inputs
and outputs of the gates, circuit speed, power consumption, etc. These performance figures
can be established using a technique called circuit characterization or cell characterization.
Circuit characterization provides information on the electrical properties of the circuits un-
der consideration like input capacitances, timing data, or power consumption at reasonable
operating conditions.
The performance figures of the analyzed circuits can be compared with data derived by
analyzing earlier device generations. This approach is helpful when measuring the improve-
ments between different device generations but is also useful in selecting the most efficient
solution from a list of possible circuit concepts for a given process.
Traditional software tools from the domain of electronic design automation (EDA) easily
cover the circuit simulation tasks depicted in Fig. 1.1. Several problems arise when working
with standard software:
2 Existing software for model extraction is currently not well adapted to OFET devices.
OFET-based transistor models are missing and would have to be included into the ex-
tractors.
2 Tools for circuit characterization are normally adapted to high-speed state-of-the-art
circuits. They do not include simple analyses like the determination of the maximum-
square noise margin (see Section 5.3.4). Including new analyses into existing tools is
often difficult as the source code of the programs is not disclosed or would have to be
reworked.
2 Collaboration between different tools is necessary. Data from the model extractor would
have to be transferred to the testbenches used by the characterization tool and charac-
terization results would have to be displayed and archived for documentation and later
reuse.
2 Data organization is up to the user. The optimization of OFET devices and organic logic
gates leads to many iterations of measurement, model extraction, and circuit analysis.
The respective data have to be stored in an efficient way. Prior analysis results must
be accessible later on in order to explore the effects of optimization steps in the fab-
rication process. Moreover, analysis procedures might change because new figures of
merit are introduced. In such a case, prior analyses need to be repeated with the new
characterization flow.
2 The characterization flow depends on the different tools used in the analysis process.
These tools are coordinated by control scripts. As soon as vendors change their tools
4 Chapter 1. Introduction
the characterization flow has to be updated, including the control scripts. Moreover,
migration to other tools would also require recoding of scripts. Additionally, the users
need to understand the inner workings of the tools in order to include them in their
analysis flow.
Therefore, it is desirable to integrate the required tools into a coherent, generic, and flex-
ible framework. Coherent means that the framework seamlessly integrates the different tools
and also covers data management. Generic means that the tools are integrated using abstract
interfaces so that they can easily be replaced. Novel tools can then be integrated by including
appropriate interfaces. Flexible means that the users can add novel characterization scripts by
use of easily adaptable interfaces.
1.2 Aim of this Thesis
In this thesis, a computer-aided methodology for modeling of OFETs and analyzing their
performance in logic circuits is presented. Development of the methodology leads to research
in the following domains:
2 Modeling: Examination of OFET models suitable in circuit simulation and of proce-
dures for extracting their parameters.
2 Circuit characterization: Definition of characterization criteria for circuits. In this work,
low-complexity logic circuits are in focus.
2 Analysis concept: Development of an analysis flow for carrying out parameter extrac-
tion for OFET models and logic gate characterization as well as data management.
1.3 Scientific Contribution of this Work
Progress in the simulation-based modeling and circuit analysis of organic transistors could be
made in this work. First, a checklist to assess the quality of a modeling approach for OFET
devices in logic circuits has been defined in the model quality chart (MQC). The MQC allows
its users to compare different modeling approaches. Formalisms like the MQC did not exist
before in the domain of organic electronics.
Second, a novel methodology for extracting device parameters in a two-step approach has
been developed. In a first step, the transistor characteristics drain-current (I
D
) vs. drain-source
voltage (V
DS
) are inspected. For each I
D
curve, the transition point V
Sat
between linear and
saturation region is extracted using a one-dimensional search. V
Sat
and the measurement data
are then used for calculating three basic transistor parameters: threshold voltage V
T
, process
1.4. Outline of this Work 5
conductance K
P
, and channel-length modulation λ. The gate-voltage dependent shapes of
these parameters extracted for a series of I
D
curves are characteristic for different model types.
Therefore, they can be used for identifying the model which maps best the measured curves.
This approach contrasts with other analysis procedures which concentrate on the problem
which set of parameters maps best the measured curves for a given model. In a second step,
the extracted V
GS
-dependent parameters can be mapped to simulation models, e.g. the ones
developed in this work: a table-based model and a fitting-based analytic model.
Third, progress has been made in the analysis of OFET-based logic gates. A novel ap-
proach has been introduced to define the robustness of logic gates by inspecting the gain of
the fix point in the voltage-transfer characteristic. An existing method to qualitatively define
the compatibility of valid logic level ranges has been extended to yield noise margins.
A computer-aided methodology has been developed to run data storage, OFET model-
ing, automatic testbench generation, and circuit characterization within a single environment.
The novelty of the concept is the integration of these tasks by use of appropriate data struc-
tures. Moreover, a graphical scripting system has been integrated into the concept so to allow
non-expert users to flexibly compose their own characterization schemes. Existing tools and
analysis methods have been adapted to the analysis of OFET-based logic circuits.
1.4 Outline of this Work
In Chapter 2, the basics of low-cost organic electronics are sketched with focus on OFETs
and OFET-based logic circuits. Chapter 3 deals with the modeling of OFETs. Here, general
requirements on transistor models are described and existing models for organic transistors are
discussed. Moreover, existing procedures and tools for modeling of transistors are reviewed.
A novel methodology for translating measured transistor characteristics into model parameters
and two new transistor models based on this methodology are detailed in Chapter 4. Here,
selected analysis examples are presented where the methodology is applied. Next, OFET-
based logic circuits and the way how to characterize their static and dynamic behavior are
discussed in Chapter 5. Existing tools for circuit characterization are presented. A novel
analysis concept is then detailed in the first part of Chapter 6. This concept implements
a computer-aided methodology for modeling of OFETs and analysis of OFET-based logic
circuits. In the second part of the chapter, sample sessions demonstrate the application of the
analysis concept in a prototype implementation. Chapter 7 concludes the work by presenting
a summary of the work and an outlook to further developments.
6 Chapter 1. Introduction
7
Chapter 2
Concepts of Low-Cost Organic
Electronics
In recent years, electronic devices based on organic materials have appeared in real appli-
cations. Displays composed of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) provide images with
increased brilliance when compared to more traditional display technologies. Small OLED-
based displays have already been commercially introduced. In organic photovoltaics, solar
cells are developed where organic semiconductors are used as the active layer. Moreover,
organic materials are considered for use in non-volatile memories. Another important focus
are integrated circuits (ICs) based on OFETs, which are currently in the development stage.
In the following, the concepts of organic electronics will be briefly introduced. More detailed
descriptions can be found in the references provided in the respective paragraphs. The dis-
cussion will focus on items relevant for low-cost organic transistors (OFETs), which are the
basic building blocks of organic integrated circuits.
2.1 State of the Art in Organic Circuits
The major advantage of organic electronics is ease of fabrication instead of improved electrical
performance of a device. A large number of organic materials can be deposited from solution,
enabling e.g. application of high-speed and high-throughput printing methods. With increased
fabrication speed and output, lower fabrication costs are possible.
Organic ICs e.g. target smart price tags (also called RFID tags or transponders) as applica-
tion. These transponders can be electronically interrogated using a reader and radio frequency
communication. The organic RFID transponders draw their energy from the RF field of the
reader and consist of an antenna, organic rectifiers and an OFET-based logic block for trans-
mitting their information to the reader.
8 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
Prototype RFID tags with organic logic chips have lately been presented [4, 5], partially
fabricated using clean-room techniques. Yet, fully-printed circuits currently lag behind these
complexities and performances. In the domain of low-cost mass printed circuits, state-of-
the-art results were obtained with gravure printed polyfluorene (F8T2) as semiconductor and
offset printed PEDOT-PSS as source-drain material [6]. Measurement results of a seven-stage
ring oscillator
1
were presented with an oscillation frequency of 1.2 Hz at a supply voltage of
48 V. Details about the early stages of the underlying fabrication process were presented in
[7]. Another group [8] reported results for a printed seven-stage ring oscillator with polytri-
arylamide (PTAA) as semiconductor. The oscillation frequency was 67 Hz at a supply voltage
of 30 V.
2.2 Organic Semiconductors
In the following, a brief introduction into organic semiconductors and popular models to de-
scribe their charge-transport mechanisms is given.
2.2.1 Oligomers and Polymers
Organic semiconductors are the most important materials for the functional layer of organic
transistors used in organic electronics. They are molecules consisting of a repetition of carbon-
based compounds with low molecular weight (called repetition units or monomers). Depend-
ing on the number of repetition units n, organic semiconductors belong to one of two cate-
gories: oligomers or polymers. An oligomer is a compound with n usually less than about 10
to 15. Most oligomers cannot be deposited from solution because they are not very soluble in
common solvents [9]. Instead, they are deposited e.g. by vacuum deposition. Semiconduct-
ing oligomers show superior electrical performance (e.g. switching speed) when compared to
semiconducting polymers. Popular oligomers with semiconducting properties are e.g. pen-
tacene or oligothiophenes. A polymer on the other hand is a compound with a higher number
of repetition units. More precisely, a polymer can be defined as a compound where adding a
new repetition unit will not alter its chemical and electrical behavior [10]. In order to make
polymers soluble in a variety of solvents and provide film forming properties, side chains are
chemically attached to the polymer chain so to allow deposition e.g. by printing methods. A
popular organic semiconductor is the p-type semiconducting polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene)
or P3HT in short. The basic building block of P3HT is thiophene, a ring of four carbon atoms
and one sulfur atom. A hexyl (C
6
H
13
) side chain is added to the thiophene ring in order to
1
An oscillator circuit where seven inverters are cascaded and the output of the last inverter is fed back to the
input of the first inverter.
2.2. Organic Semiconductors 9
allow P3HT to be soluble in organic solvents. Fig. 2.1 shows the chemical structure of P3HT.
In the figure, n denotes the number of repetition units.
) (
S
S
C
6
H
13
C
6
H
13
n
Fig. 2.1: Chemical structure of poly(3-hexylthiophene).
Semiconducting polymers have a conjugated polymer backbone, i.e. an alternating se-
quence of single and double carbon-carbon bonds. Conjugation leads to the presence of delo-
calized molecular orbitals in the material where electrons belong to a group of atoms instead
of a single bond or atom [11]. These electrons are important for charge transport.
2.2.2 Unipolar and Ambipolar Semiconductors
The majority of organic semiconductors displays unipolar p-type transport, i.e. hole trans-
port. There also exist unipolar n-type transport materials which show electrical performance
and lower stability under normal environmental conditions, however. Recently, ambipolar
semiconductors (e.g. [12, 13]) have been reported where both n-type and p-type charge trans-
port is possible. These materials are nevertheless in the early stages of research. They are
either intrinsically ambipolar or consist of mixtures of p-type and n-type conducting semicon-
ductors.
2.2.3 Charge Transport Models
Numerous models have been developed to deal with the mechanisms of charge transport
within organic semiconductors. The most popular of these are listed in the following.
Band Transport
By combining atoms into molecules, molecular orbitals are created. The highest molecular
orbital filled with electrons is denoted as HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital) and the
lowest molecular orbital devoid of electrons as LUMO (lowest unoccupied molecular orbital).
HOMO and LUMO in organic semiconductors are used analogous to the opposing edges of
the valence and conduction bands in more traditional semiconductors. They are separated by
an energy gap.
10 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
Generally, the electronic properties of a semiconductor are strongly influenced by the
positions and distances of the opposing edges of the valence and conduction band. Charge
transport of holes in the valence band and of electrons in the conduction band is limited by
scattering of the charge carriers at lattice vibrations or impurities. The mobility of charge
carriers decreases with elevated temperature because lattice vibrations are less pronounced at
lower temperatures.
Hopping Transport
Many organic semiconductors are regarded as disordered systems where band transport does
not seem reasonable between different molecules. Here, hopping transport provides a better
description of charge transport. In this model, free movement of charge carriers is not possible.
Instead, they hop between neighboring hopping sites. When a charge carrier hops to another
site, its presence there leads to a local deformation of the polymer. The pair of charge carrier
and deformation is called polaron and is modeled as a single quasi-particle. In order to move
between sites, the polaron has to overcome an energy barrier. The probability of crossing this
energy barrier and hopping between sites increases with elevated temperatures.
Multiple Trapping and Release
In the model of multiple trapping and release (MTR), charge carriers are assumed to travel by
band transport. This transport is impeded by the presence of traps near the band edges. These
traps are energy levels within the bandgap which are caused by the presence of impurities or
structural defects [14]. When a charge carrier “falls” into such a trap, it is not available for
charge transport until it gets released again after a certain amount of time, e.g. by thermal
activation. The trapping time depends on the temperature and the energetic depth of the trap.
Grain Boundary Model
In polycrystalline organic semiconductors, the semiconductor film is composed of crystallites
which are separated by amorphous grain boundaries. While the charge carriers are assumed
to move freely in bands in the crystallites, they get trapped and released at traps in the grain
boundaries. These traps are due to the structural disorder at the interfaces of neighboring
grains. The traps in the grain boundaries get charged by capturing charge carriers. This
trapping creates a depletion region which in turn leads to the formation of an energy barrier.
Charge carriers have to overcome this energy barrier in order to travel across the depletion
region. The grain boundary model can be assumed as a special variation of MTR where traps
concentrate at the grain boundaries.
2.3. Organic Field-Effect Transistors 11
2.3 Organic Field-Effect Transistors
Organic semiconductors find application in organic field-effect transistors. OFETs have many
similarities with more traditional MOSFETs but also considerably differ from these. In the
following, the basic properties of OFETs and their differences to MOSFETs are briefly dis-
cussed.
2.3.1 Device Characteristics of an OFET
In Fig. 2.2, circuit symbol as well as output characteristics I
D
vs. V
DS
and transfer charac-
teristics I
D
vs. V
GS
of an OFET are sketched. For the output characteristics, V
DS
is swept
in the range of interest at constant V
GS
values. The transfer characteristics are obtained by
applying a fixed V
DS
and sweeping V
GS
in the range of interest.
The schematic plots show the behavior of an n-type (electron transport) OFET with pos-
itive voltages. P-type (hole transport) FETs operate similarly with inverted voltages and cur-
rents. The drain current is modulated by the voltage differences between the three device
electrodes drain (D), gate (G), and source (S). In principle, an OFET operates as a voltage-
dependent resistor between drain and source which is controlled by the gate-source and drain-
source voltage. In logic circuits, this resistor can be regarded as a nonlinear switching element
which cannot be completely switched-off as shown by the logarithmic transfer characteristics
in Fig. 2.2c.
0
0
VDS
VDS
D
G
S
ID
VGS
VGS
fixed VDS
VGS1
VGS2
VGS3
VGS4
b) a) c)
ID log ID
Fig. 2.2: a) FET symbol with terminal voltages and drain current, b) schematic output char-
acteristics I
D
vs. V
DS
, and c) logarithmic transfer characteristics I
D
vs. V
GS
.
12 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
In OFETs, the drain current I
D
is usually proportional to certain material and structural
properties. These material properties are charge-carrier mobility µ or the relative permittivity
ε
r
of the insulator capacitance. Structural properties are channel width W, channel length
L, or the thickness of the insulating layer t
is
. Using these parameters, I
D
(here again dis-
cussed for an n-type device) can be approximated by the well-known Shichman-Hodges [15]
equations
I
D
=

W
L
µC
is

(V
GS
−V
T
)V
DS

1
2
V
2
DS

: V
DS
< V
GS
−V
T
1
2
W
L
µC
is
(V
GS
−V
T
)
2
: V
DS
> V
GS
−V
T
(2.1)
The voltages V
DS
and V
GS
are defined according to Fig. 2.2. V
T
is the threshold voltage.
It can roughly be defined as the voltage at which the channel begins to switch on. C
is
is the
capacitance per unit area of the insulator and reads C
is
= ε
0
ε
r
/t
is
. I
D
saturates at high V
DS
values (|V
DS
| ≥ |V
GS
− V
T
|) because the voltage drop across the channel no longer leads to
accumulation of charge carriers. In a first-order approximation, the channel region there is
regarded as being pinched-off. Consequently, the drain current saturates.
OFETs belong to the class of thin-film transistors where the semiconducting channel is
deposited as a thin film on the substrate. Owing to this fact, OFETs are also referred to as
OTFTs (Organic Thin-Film Transistors, e.g. [9]). Fig. 2.3 shows a graphical representation of
frequently used OFET structures. These structures are distinguished according to the positions
of the electrodes. In top-gate structures, the gate electrode is deposited on top of all other
layers. In bottom-gate structures, conversely, it is deposited first on the substrate. Each device
setup has special requirements on the compatibility between the different materials used in
the fabrication process (layer materials, solvents, resists, developers).
Top-gate devices provide the advantage of encapsulating the semiconducting layer be-
tween the substrate and the insulator. Bottom-gate devices are often fabricated using the
well-established technology of silicon wafers. Silicon is used for the gate electrode while
silicon dioxide grown on top of the silicon acts as the insulating layer [16].
Charge-carrier mobilities of amorphous organic transistors are usually very low, i.e. in
the range µ < 0.1 cm
2
/Vs [17] as opposed to crystalline silicon transistors with electron mo-
bilities µ > 500 cm
2
/Vs. This restriction leads to OFETs with large channel widths in the
millimeter range so to allow drain currents of 1 µA and above. Therefore, OFETs are often
realized as interdigitated structures. Fig. 2.4 shows an OFET (top-gate structure) with five fin-
gers in top view. The geometrical device parameters (channel length and width) are indicated
in the drawing.
Parameters for fully-printed as well as clean-roomfabricated devices are given in Table 2.1.
For the printed devices, the semiconductor was PTAA while the clean-room fabricated devices
2.3. Organic Field-Effect Transistors 13
Semiconductor
Drain Source
Insulator
Substrate
Gate
Semiconductor
Insulator
Gate
Substrate
Drain Source
Gate
Source Drain
Insulator
Substrate
Semicon.
b) Bottom–gate bottom–contact c) Bottom–gate top–contact a) Top–gate
Fig. 2.3: Schematic view of different OFET classes: a) top-gate structure, b) bottom-gate
bottom-contact structure, and c) bottom-gate top-contact structure.
Gate
Source
Drain
Channel width W
Channel length L
Fig. 2.4: Schematic top view of an OFET with an interdigitated finger structure.
was manufactured using P3HT. As can be seen from the listed data, considerable differences
between the two processes exist.
Table 2.1: Parameters for fully-printed [18] and clean-room fabricated [19] OFETs.
Parameter fully-printed clean-room fabricated
relative insulator permittivity ε
r
2.2 to 50 3
insulator thickness t
is
0.1-10 µm, depends on ε
r
300 nm
electrode thickness > 300 nm 40 nm
semiconductor thickness > 500 nm 50 nm
2.3.2 Differences between MOSFET and OFET
In the following, the operation modes of MOSFETs and OFETs will be compared. First, the
well-known MOSFET is shortly presented and is then compared with an OFET in order to
show the differences between the two transistor types. P-type transistors will be used in the
discussion.
14 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
MOSFET Operation
In p-type MOSFET devices, the channel region is a substrate with n-type doping, i.e. with
electrons as majority carriers (see Fig. 2.5). An oxide is grown on top of the channel region
and serves as the insulator. The drain and source region are both p-type doped with holes as
majority carriers. Therefore, there exist pn junctions at the interface between the electrodes
and the channel when zero voltages are applied at drain, gate, and source. By applying a
negative voltage between gate and source, the channel is depleted. When V
GS
reaches the
threshold voltage V
T
, the concentration of minority carriers (holes) begins to exceed the con-
centration of majority carriers (electrons) and the device operates in inversion mode where
the channel region is p-type conducting. Under these conditions, the pn junctions between the
source electrode and the channel as well as the drain electrode and the channel no longer exist
and current can flow between drain and source through the channel. By applying a positive
V
GS
, majority carriers (electrons) are accumulated and the channel is switched off. No mat-
ter which polarity V
DS
has, always one of the two pn diodes at source and drain is biased in
reverse direction and blocks current flow.
Drain Source p+ p+
n−Substrate
Gate Oxide
Gate
Fig. 2.5: Schematic cross section of a p-type MOSFET (p+ and n+ denote heavily p-type and
heavily n-type doped regions).
OFET Operation
In a p-type OFET, the semiconducting channel is deposited as a thin film on an insulating
substrate or the dielectric. The semiconductor is not doped but intrinsically provides hole
transport. Source and drain electrodes are metals or metal-like conductors with (ideally) little
resistance to the channel region for transport of holes. By applying a negative V
GS
, holes
injected from the source electrode are accumulated in the channel. Conversely, a positive V
GS
depletes the channel and leads to higher channel resistance, which leads to low current.
2.4. Printing and Roll-to-Roll Fabrication 15
Comparison
Table 2.2 provides a comparison between silicon-based MOSFET and OFET technologies.
Table 2.2: Comparison between silicon-based MOSFET and OFET technologies.
Property MOSFET OFET
Operation mode strong inversion accumulation
Transport mechanism band transport various models, but still
under debate
Source/drain contacts pn junctions for majority
carriers, one of these is re-
verse biased
low-resistance contacts for
majority carriers
Substrate provides channel region,
semiconducting
no electric function, insu-
lating
Typical Charge-carrier
mobility
400 to 500 cm
2
/Vs for
electrons
≤ 0.1 cm
2
/Vs in amor-
phous semiconductors
Fabrication method lithographic process, using
clean-room facilities
various, from photolitho-
graphy to printing
Semiconductor silicon various conjugated poly-
mers/oligomers
Insulator mainly silicon dioxide numerous possibilities
Electrodes / Intercon-
nect
various metals, polysilicon
(as gate)
various metals and organic
conductors
Critical dimension < 1 µm > 1 µm
2.4 Printing and Roll-to-Roll Fabrication
Based on the selection of constituent materials, OFET-based circuits can be fabricated in
a variety of deposition (e.g. vapor deposition, spin-coating) and structuring methods (e.g.
photolithography, shadow masks). The reader is referred to [20, 21] for a review of fabrication
techniques used in organic electronics.
The most advantageous fabrication techniques are printing methods, which are not appli-
cable in conventional silicon-based processes. Printing techniques like flexography, gravure
printing, screen printing, or inkjet printing, etc. can be used. These lead to high fabrication
volume and throughput as well as low-cost fabrication, which are specific features of low-cost
organic electronics.
Use of printing techniques comes at the cost of some restrictions. The feature sizes are
currently limited to the micrometer range instead of a nanometer scale used with conventional
16 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
silicon transistors [18]. Printing materials have to be chosen carefully so to remain compatible
with the respective printing technology regarding e.g. viscosity, drying behavior, etc. [21, 22].
Some printing techniques can be used in roll-to-roll manufacturing, where the printing
substrate is fed through a printing machine from one roller to another. In comparison to batch
processing of IC wafers, roll-to-roll manufacturing can reach higher throughput. In order to
explain roll-to-roll manufacturing, gravure printing will be discussed in the following with the
help of Fig. 2.6. In gravure printing, a flexible foil is continuously unwound froma roll, travels
between a rotating gravure cylinder and an impression cylinder, and is finally rewound into
another roll. In the printing process, the surface of the rotating gravure cylinder is wetted by
an ink or soluble polymer in a tank. The ink (in organic electronics: semiconductor, insulator,
metal-like electrode material, etc.) is scraped by a doctor blade so that only the quantity filling
up the recessed parts of the cylinder remains. This ink is transferred to the desired positions
of the printing substrate while the cylinder rolls across it.
Printing substrate
Gravure cylinder
Ink
Impression
cylinder
Roll
Roll
Doctor blade
Fig. 2.6: Schematic gravure printing process (adaption from [23]).
2.5. Chapter Conclusions 17
2.5 Chapter Conclusions
As was shown in Section 2.3.1, MOSFETs and OFETs operate similarly. From the modeling
point of view, the two types of transistors differ in operation mode (strong inversion vs. accu-
mulation), transport mechanisms (band transport vs. various possibilities from band transport
to hopping), and technological choices (materials, fabrication methods). Yet, output and trans-
fer characteristics are comparable. Therefore, MOSFET-based models of transistors are used
as first-order approximations of OFETs in circuit simulation. Nevertheless, the OFET tech-
nology features numerous fabrication methods and materials for the various transistor layers.
This situation creates many factors complicating modeling because different transport mech-
anisms (band-like, hopping) and effects at the interfaces between the semiconductor and the
electrodes (presence of contact effects) or between the semiconductor and the insulating layer
(presence of traps, hysteresis) might arise. Hence, a generic simulation environment needs to
adapt to different modeling approaches and procedures for parameter extraction.
18 Chapter 2. Concepts of Low-Cost Organic Electronics
19
Chapter 3
OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Circuit simulations of low-cost organic circuits are useful in the development and optimization
of devices and processes. Simulations provide relevant performance figures during device
optimization. They can be used without fabricating and measuring real devices. However,
employing circuit simulation in this field requires accurate OFET models.
This chapter discusses models suitable for circuit simulation as well as procedures and
tools for extracting the respective model parameters. First, requirements are defined which
determine the strengths and weaknesses of transistor models. These requirements are useful
when comparing models and identifying their deficiencies. Next, existing OFET models pre-
sented in literature on device modeling are discussed. Finally, frequently used procedures and
tools for the extraction of transistor parameters are reviewed.
3.1 Model Requirements for Circuit Simulation
Transistor models need some properties in order to be useful in the simulation of OFET-
based logic circuits. Model performance in digital circuits usually depends on a small set
of parameters of the DC characteristics such as threshold voltage and drive current [24]. A
“good” agreement between I
D
-V
DS
measurements and simulation is traditionally considered
to be enough [25]. The level of accuracy can be defined by the mean-square error between
measurement and simulation [25, 26, 27]. However, users of transistor models prefer more
sophisticated rating criteria in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual
models. Tsividis and Suyama [25] studied requirements on transistor models useful in the
simulation of circuits. Their research focused on model requirements for analog circuits but
the results can also be adapted to models for OFET-based digital circuits. In this work, the
idea of Tsividis and Suyama is adapted to the assessment of OFET devices. The adaption
consists of grouping the requirements into five sections, dropping criteria more important for
20 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
analog models, and adding new criteria dealing with the accuracy of predicted voltage levels,
noise margin, or stress effects. Good candidates for modeling OFET devices should comply
with as many requirements as possible of the following model quality chart (MQC):
2 Accuracy — A candidate model should give reasonably accurate results for
⊲ I-V characteristics,
⊲ speed predictions for logic circuits,
⊲ propagation delays at the individual nodes within the circuit,
⊲ voltage levels and noise margin determinations,
⊲ a reasonable range of bias voltages and temperatures.
2 Capacitance Modeling — The model should include proper modeling of the transistor
capacitances like gate-source and gate-drain capacitances. The accurate simulation of
time-dependent voltage levels and signal shapes depends on the correct modeling of
these capacitances.
2 Compactness — The model equations should depend on as few parameters as possible:
⊲ There should be a strong relationship between model parameters and parameters
reflecting device structure and fabrication processing (channel thickness, number
of trap states, etc.).
⊲ Such a model would be especially useful in statistical circuit analysis where effects
of variations in fabrication and parameter distribution are accounted for.
⊲ In order to be of service in statistical circuit analysis, empirical parameters without
physical meaning should be avoided.
⊲ The model accuracy should not depend on the geometrical dimensions of each
device, so one set of model parameters should be valid for all devices of the same
type and fabrication process.
2 Parameter Extraction — The process of parameter extraction must be easy and straight-
forward:
⊲ The number of required test devices and measurement procedures for the parame-
ter extraction should be kept as small as possible.
⊲ Ideally, model parameters are directly resolved using analytical reasoning without
much computational effort.
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 21
⊲ Alternatively, if general-purpose optimization techniques are used, they must not
fail due to numerical instabilities.
2 Stress Effects — The candidate model should implement hysteresis effects present in
OFET devices like the threshold voltage shift due to bias stress [3, 28, 29, 30].
Although OFET-based modeling does currently not meet all of the above requirements,
the MQC is a useful tool in the discussion of strengths and weaknesses of different model-
ing approaches. Currently, the following issues prevent complete compliance with the MQC
criteria:
2 The physics of OFETs are not fully understood yet. Experiments presented in literature
are often carried out on devices fabricated on silicon wafers and by photolithographic
means. Such devices are not comparable to devices fabricated with low-cost manufac-
turing techniques. For the latter, fabrication speed and cost are more important than
device quality and repeatability.
2 Devices consist of nonuniform and complicated materials. This contrasts modeling
of crystalline silicon transistors made of uniform and well-characterized materials [31].
Under these circumstances, deriving a small set of physics-related parameters is difficult
and often leads to empirical modeling of the devices.
2 OFETs can be fabricated using a variety of device structures and fabrication processes.
This situation gives rise to many individual effects. One example of such effects is the
series resistance between the electrodes and the transistor channel. Depending on the
device structure, the series resistance influences the transistor current [28, 32]. A large
variety of candidate materials for the semiconductor, the dielectric, and the interconnect
lines also leads to additional variables in the modeling process.
3.2 Existing Models for OFETs
In the following, transistor models are presented which have already been applied to OFETs.
Some of these models were developed for more traditional semiconductor materials while
others are especially designed for specific types of OFETs. The following review makes
use of the model quality chart (MQC) in order to compare weaknesses and strengths of the
individual models. However, the reader should note that the models are difficult to compare
regarding accuracy as they have been developed for different device setups, i.e. different
material combinations, device structures, and fabrication methods.
22 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
The models reviewed in the following sections can roughly be divided into different cate-
gories. These categories are:
1. Models adapting well-known approaches for silicon transistors based on the shapes
of the output characteristics or structural similarities (Level-1 in Section 3.2.1, TFT
models in Section 3.2.2 and Section 3.2.3).
2. A model specifically developed for OFETs, i.e. the model of variable range hopping
(VRH) in four variants in Section 3.2.4.
3. Models sacrificing any physical background (table-based models in Section 3.2.5, Dres-
den model in Section 3.2.6) but instead focusing on quick and accurate reproduction of
measured output characteristics.
4. Models for ambipolar OFETs in Section 3.2.8, which are combinations of other models.
A special situation arises from Necliudov’s [32] application of the TFT model for amor-
phous silicon to OFETs (Section 3.2.3). Here, the generic adaption of a silicon-based model
is combined with OFET-specific contact effects. Brederlow and colleagues [33] developed a
similar approach but focused on a physics-related description of the contact effect and mod-
eled the intrinsic transistor with standard MOSFET equations. In this work, the model in [33]
has nevertheless been listed in the section dealing with the TFT model for amorphous silicon
as the model description was too short for a thorough analysis within the framework of this
thesis.
3.2.1 Shichman-Hodges Model (Level-1 Model)
Apopular and simple transistor model was developed by Shichman &and Hodges in the 1960s
for the general class of IGFETs (insulated gate field-effect transistors) [15]. In the following,
the name “Level-1 model” will also be used for this approach. The name originates from
SPICE, where Shichman-Hodges modeling is selected for MOSFETs by setting the transistor
parameter LEVEL=1 [34].
Some researchers employ the Level-1 equations as a first-order approximation of the out-
put characteristics of OFETs (e.g. [3, 35]). The equations are also used in Section 2.3.1 for a
discussion of the electrical behavior of OFETs.
Although the Level-1 model has been developed with operation in strong inversion mode
in mind, the resulting current-voltage relationship also approximates thin-film transistors op-
erating in accumulation mode as has been shown in [36].
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 23
3.2.1.1 Model Equations
Fig. 3.1a shows the output characteristics of an OFET, which can be divided into three regions:
cutoff (not visible in the plot), linear, and saturation. In the following text, equations for the
three regions will be presented by use of an n-type transistor but the resulting equations are
applicable to both n-type and p-type devices.
For an n-type transistor with true Level-1 behavior, no current flows for V
GS
less than the
threshold voltage V
T
. The device is then in the cut-off region (see Fig. 3.1b). Above threshold,
the current increases with a square-law dependence on V
DS
in the linear region until it reaches
the boundary between linear and saturation region (shown by the dotted line in Fig. 3.1a). In
the saturation region, the current is proportional to the drain-source voltage.
a) Output characteristics b) Transfer characteristics
Linear Region Saturation Region
Cutoff
Region Region
Saturation
Region
Linear
0
0
V
DS
= V
GS
−V
T
V
GS

V
T
I
D I
D
V
DS
V
GS
V
DS
= const
Fig. 3.1: Schematic output characteristics of a transistor with Level-1 behavior: a) output
characteristics I
D
vs. V
DS
with linear and saturation region separated by a dotted curve, and
b) linear transfer characteristic I
D
vs. V
GS
with threshold voltage V
T
.
The equations of Level-1 transistors were already introduced in (2.1) but will be repro-
duced here in order to separate the different operation regions:
1. Cutoff region:
I
D
= 0 with V
GS
< V
T
(3.1)
2. Linear region:
I
D
= µ·C
is
·
W
L

V
GS
−V
T

V
DS
2

V
DS
·(1+λV
DS
) with 0 < V
DS
< V
GS
−V
T
(3.2)
24 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
3. Saturation region:
I
D
=
1
2
µ · C
is
·
W
L
(V
GS
−V
T
)
2
· (1 +λV
DS
) with 0 < V
GS
−V
T
< V
DS
(3.3)
The parameters used in (3.1) to (3.3) are µ for the charge-carrier mobility, C
is
for the
capacitance per unit area of the gate dielectric, V
T
for the threshold voltage, λ for the channel-
length modulation parameter, W and L for the width and length of the transistor channel. For
convenience reasons in hand calculations, the process conductance parameter K
P
[37] was
introduced as
K
P
= µC
is
. (3.4)
The device conductance parameter β further extends K
P
by taking into account the geometry
of the transistor. It is defined as
β = K
P
W
L
= µC
is
W
L
. (3.5)
The process conductance parameter K
P
reflects the driving capabilities of the transistor
device. The threshold voltage on the other hand defines how much gate-source voltage is
needed to induce charge carriers in the transistor channel. The channel-length modulation
parameter has been introduced in the original IGFET equations to account for a channel-
length reduction in saturation. This reduction is associated with the pinch-off of the transistor
channel at some point near the drain electrode. The pinch-off leads to a reduction of the
effective channel length which in turn increases the slope of I
D
vs. V
DS
in the saturation
region. The value of λ defines this slope according to (3.3). λ = 0 corresponds to a slope of
zero in the saturation region.
Reasonable parameter values for Level-1 devices are given in Table 3.1. As there is not just
one mainstream OFET technology but many different processes currently in the development
stage, parameter values for the various fabrication technologies considerably differ. Therefore,
it is not possible to provide typical values, and Table 3.1 can only provide a general idea of
reasonable parameter ranges.
Table 3.1: Level-1 parameters for p-type P3HT device [19].
Parameter Value
process conductance K
P
< 9 pA/V
2
threshold voltage V
T
0,2 V
channel-length modulation λ 5 · 10
−3
1/V
The influence of Level-1 parameters on modeled output characteristics is demonstrated
using Fig. 3.2, where output and transfer characteristics of variations of all three Level-1 pa-
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 25
rameters are shown. The reference device was an n-type FET with the following parameters:
K
P
= 1 nA/V
2
, V
T
= 2 V, λ = 0, W/L = 2000. The parameters have been chosen for demon-
stration purposes. In Fig. 3.2a-b, the effect of varying the process conductance is depicted.
Increasing K
P
from 1 pA/V
2
to 1.5 pA/V
2
will proportionally increase the drain current I
D
.
In Fig. 3.2c-d, the influence of the threshold voltage is demonstrated. Here, V
T
is raised
from 2 V to 10 V. The impact of this increase is best seen in the I
D
vs. V
GS
plot where
the onset of drain current shifts from V
GS
= 2 V to 10 V. In Fig. 3.2e-f, the impact of the
channel-length modulation λ is shown.
3.2.1.2 Discussion
In Table 3.2, a rating of Level-1 modeling with respect to the model quality chart (MQC)
from Section 3.1 is shown. Due to the multitude of materials and processing routes, there is
no uniform shape of the current/voltage characteristics of OFET devices [30]. Therefore, the
accuracy of the Level-1 approach has been rated from bad to medium. It can adequately repro-
duce OFET types where the mobility only weakly depends on the gate-source voltage. Other
modeling approaches are better suited for devices with e.g. variable mobility. Modeling of
capacitances is not part of the basic equations. It should be noted, however, that Level-1 imple-
mentations in SPICE simulators include nonlinear modeling of capacitances which is similar
to OFET-related capacitance values expectable from numerical analysis (see Section 3.2.4.2).
As the Level-1 model is based on a physical background (gradual channel approxima-
tion) and only few parameters are necessary in the equations, compactness of the model has
been rated as good. Numerous approaches can be used for deriving these parameters (see
Section 3.3.1). Therefore, parameter extraction has also been rated as good. Stress effects are
not included in the model.
Table 3.2: MQC for basic Level-1 model.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy bad to medium
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness good
Parameter Extraction good
Stress Effects not included
In literature on modern MOSFET modeling [38], the Level-1 approach is only considered
as a convenient first-order approximation because the relatively simple equations facilitate
parameter extraction. More advanced models require concurrent fitting of several parameters
to more sophisticated equations, which complicates the extraction process.
26 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
f)
d)
b) a)
e)
c)
0.0u
0.5u
1.0u
1.5u
2.0u
2.5u
3.0u
3.5u
−10 0 10 20 30 40 50
0.0
0.5u
1.0u
1.5u
2.0u
−10 0 10 20 30 40 50
0.0u
0.5u
1.0u
1.5u
2.0u
2.5u
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.0u
0.5u
1.0u
1.5u
2.0u
2.5u
3.0u
3.5u
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.0u
0.5u
1.0u
1.5u
2.0u
0 10 20 30 40 50
30 40 50
80n
70n
60n
50n
40n
30n
20n
10n
0n
0 10 20
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
λ = 0.000 1/V
V
T
= 2 V
V
DS
= 50 V
V
DS
= 50 V
V
DS
= 50 V
K
P
=1.5 pA/V
2
V
T
= 10 V
λ = 0.005 1V
K
P
=1.0 pA/V
2
V
DS
[V]
V
DS
[V]
V
T
= 2 V
λ = 0.005 1/V
λ = 0.000 1/V
V
GS
= 50 V
40 V
20 V
30 V
V
GS
= 10 V
V
T
= 10 V
K
P
=1.0 pA/V
2
K
P
=1.5 pA/V
2
V
DS
[V]
Fig. 3.2: I
D
vs. V
DS
and I
D
vs. V
GS
for variations of the Level-1 parameters: a-b) variation
of K
P
, c-d) variation of V
T
, and e-f) variation of λ.
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 27
3.2.2 Model for Polycrystalline TFTs
The Level-1 model presented in Section 3.2.1 was designed for crystalline silicon transistors
and does not account for V
GS
-dependent mobilities. Therefore, more sophisticated modeling
approaches for organic transistors have been presented in literature such as the grain bound-
ary model for polycrystalline transistors. This model is based on the fact that vapor-deposited
organic semiconductors like pentacene organize themselves into grains of single-crystalline
structure [39]. Charge carriers are impeded by traps when they move across boundaries of
adjacent grains. Those traps can cause carrier scattering and momentum transfer to phonons
in the crystal [39]. The existence of traps leads to trapping of carriers, which in turn is re-
sponsible for a depletion of charge carriers at the grain boundaries [40] and the formation of
a barrier potential.
Polycrystalline silicon thin-film transistors (Psi-TFTs) show comparable behavior. In
these devices, the mobility is described by an empirical equation
1
µ
eff
=
1
µ
g
+
1
µ
gb
, (3.6)
with µ
eff
being the effective mobility (i.e. net mobility), µ
g
the mobility inside the single-
crystalline grain, and µ
gb
the mobility obtained at the grain boundaries.
The drain current above threshold can be calculated with
I
d
=
W
L
V
DS

0
{C
is
[V
GS
−V
T
−V (x)] · µ
eff
} dV, (3.7)
where V (x) is the drain-source voltage at position x along the length of the channel. The
other variables have their usual meaning.
Popular simulation models for polycrystalline silicon do not provide an exact solution to
(3.7) but instead express the mobility by an empirical equation, e.g. [41] for the Psi-TFT
model from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI, Troy, NJ, USA). Such an approach
eventually leads to an adaption of the basic model presented in Section 3.2.1 with a V
GS
-
dependent mobility [42]. The nature of charge transport in organic semiconductors is still a
matter of debate. Nonetheless, some groups (e.g. Horowitz and co-workers [43], Frisbie and
co-workers [44, 45]) established theories for organic crystals and polycrystalline structures
where charge transport within a single grain can be viewed as band-like. Transport across
grain boundaries and the semiconductor interface to the electrodes, however, is impeded by
the presence of traps.
The Psi-TFT model has been used in [46] for modeling of the above-threshold current of
OFETs.
28 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
3.2.2.1 Model Equations
In the following, simplified equations for the RPI Psi-TFT model will be presented. A more
detailed description can be found in [47]. The RPI model assumes the effective charge-carrier
mobility µ
eff
to be determined by an empirical law
1
µ
eff
=
1
µ

1
+
1
µ
0
, (3.8)
with µ
0
being an upper mobility limit for high gate biases similar to µ
g
in (3.6) and µ

1
deter-
mined by an empirical power law for low V
GS
values as
µ

1
∼ µ
1
V

GST
. (3.9)
Here, µ
1
is the low-field mobility and m
µ
is a mobility parameter. Both quantities can be
extracted from current-voltage measurements. For convenience reasons, V
GST
= V
GS
−V
T
is
used.
The drain current is composed of three contributors:
1. the subthreshold leakage current I
leak
,
2. the subthreshold current I
sub
,
3. the above threshold current I
a
.
Fig. 3.3 shows a schematic plot
1
of the drain current and its three contributors in logarith-
mic scale vs. the gate-source voltage V
GS
. The derivation of the equations for I
leak
, I
sub
, and
I
a
are detailed by Jacunski and colleagues [47]. In this work, only simplified equations will
be presented in order to show the V
GS
- and V
DS
-dependence of the contributing currents.
The subthreshold leakage current I
leak
in the RPI model has not been used in the modeling
of OFETs so far. Therefore, the equations will not be reproduced here.
The subthreshold current in the Psi-TFT model reads
I
sub
= µ
s
· C
is
W
L

i
V
th
)
2
exp

V
GST
η
i
V
th
¸
1 −exp

−V
DS
η
i
V
th

. (3.10)
Here, µ
s
is the subthreshold mobility and η
i
is the subthreshold ideality factor. Both param-
eters are extracted using measurements of the drain current. The other parameters have their
usual meaning.
1
Model data: µ
eff
= 1 · 10
−3
cm
2
/Vs, C
is
= 1 · 10
−7
F/cm
2
, V
T
= 1 V, α
sat
= 1.1, µ
s
= 1 · 10
−11
cm
2
/Vs,
η
i
=3.34, I
0
= 1 · 10
−13
A, W/L = 1000. A simple fitting equation for the leakage current has been used, which
reads I
leak
= I
0
exp(−(V
GS
−V
T
)/6).
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 29
10.0f
100.0f
1.0p
10.0p
100.0p
1.0n
10.0n
100.0n
1.0u
10.0u
−4 −2 0 2 4 6 8 10
V
GS
[V]
I
a
I
sub
I
leak
I
D
[
A
]
Fig. 3.3: Operation regions of a simulated Psi-TFT.
The slope of the subthreshold current I
sub
in (3.10) in decimal logarithmic scale is given by
log e/(η
i
V
th
). For OFETs, it is the reciprocal of the subthreshold swing [48] or subthreshold
slope [49] S. [49] defines the subthreshold slope as the necessary variation of the gate-source
voltage for modulating the subthreshold current by one decade. Alternatively, the IEEE stan-
dard on the characterization of OFETs [48] defines the subthreshold swing as the maximum
slope of the logarithmic transfer characteristic in the subthreshold region. The subthreshold
slope is given in V/dec and typically ranges from 1 to 5 V/dec for p-type organic semicon-
ductors [49]. In comparison to crystalline silicon with a typical subthreshold slope of approx-
imately 60 mV/dec at room temperature, a large range of gate-source voltage is required to
achieve low off currents [49].
The above-threshold drain current I
a
is given by [26]
I
a
=

µ
eff
C
is
W
L

V
GST
V
DS

V
2
DS
2αsat

for V
DS
< α
sat
(V
GST
)
µ
eff
C
is
W
L
(V
GST
)
2
α
sat
2
for V
DS
≥ α
sat
(V
GST
)
(3.11)
Here, µ
eff
is the V
GS
-dependent mobility from (3.8), α
sat
is an empirical parameter accounting
for a V
GS
-dependent modulation of the transition point between the linear and the saturation
region.
30 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
The total drain current is calculated by
I
D
= I
leak
+
1
1
I
sub
+
1
I
a
. (3.12)
With the reciprocal subterm, a unified equation for the subthreshold region, above-threshold
region and transition region between the two can be used.
The effective control voltage V
GST
used in the RPI model is defined by
V
GST
=

V
GS
−V
T
for V
GS
−V
T
> 2η
i
V
th

i
V
th
else
. (3.13)
Here η
i
is the subthreshold ideality factor introduced in (3.10). (3.13) effectively limits
V
GST
to values above 2η
i
V
th
. Without limiting V
GST
, values close to zero could be reached in
(3.11). These values would introduce an incorrect singularity in the transition region.
A reasonable parameter set for a P3HT transistor in top-gate configuration is listed in
Table 3.3 (details on how the values were obtained are given in Section 4.3.6).
Fig. 3.4 provides plots where the parameters m
µ
and α
sat
are varied. Reference parameters
for the plots were α
sat
= 1.0, m
µ
= 0.0, V
T
= 2.0 V. These were chosen so that the drain
currents of the Psi-TFT device and the Level-1 device presented in Section 3.2.1 are identical.
By varying α
sat
and m
µ
, the changes introduced by the Psi-TFT equations with respect to the
original Level-1 modeling can be studied.
3.2.2.2 Discussion
A rating of the polycrystalline grain boundary model is presented in Table 3.4. The model
takes a V
GS
-dependent mobility into account. Therefore, accuracy has been rated as good (see
Section 4.3.6 for an example of model accuracy). Modeling of capacitances is not included
in the model. Compactness has been rated as good because only a small number of parame-
ters is needed for modeling the above-threshold behavior. One can argue, however, that the
underlying RPI model uses only an “effective medium approach” [50] where the stochastic ar-
rangement of grains of different sizes is modeled by a single effective medium with equivalent
properties. Hence, the model equations can be considered as statistical descriptions. This fact
complicates finding the relationship between model parameters and those parameters which
reflect device structure and fabrication processes. Nevertheless, compactness has been rated
as good as only a small amount of parameters is necessary. Parameter extraction is difficult
because of the bias-dependent mobility as will be discussed in Section 3.3.2. This property
leads to a rating of medium. Similar to Level-1 modeling, stress effects are not included in
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 31
Table 3.3: Psi-TFT parameters for top-gate p-type P3HT device (other parameters not used).
Parameter Value
capacitance C
is
per unit area 1 · 10
−7
F/cm
2
low-field mobility µ
1
2.5 · 10
−5
cm
2
/Vs
zero-bias threshold voltage V
T
2.9 V
saturation variation parameter α
sat
0.8
low-field mobility exponent m
µ
0.886
channel-length modulation parameter λ 0.005 V
−1
b)
d)
a)
c)
1.5u
0 10 20 30 40 50
0 10 20 30 40 50
2.0u
1.0u
0.5u
0.0u
4.0u
3.5u
3.0u
2.5u
2.0u
1.5u
0.5u
1.0u
0.0u
0 10 20 30 40 50
0 10 20 30 40 50
4.0u
3.5u
3.0u
2.5u
2.0u
1.5u
1.0u
0.5u
0.0u
2.0u
1.5u
1.0u
0.5u
0.0u
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
I
D
[
A
]
V
DS
[V]
α
sat
= 1.0
V
DS
[V]
α
sat
= 0.5
m
µ
= 0.0
m
µ
= 0.1
V
GS
[V]
α
sat
= 1.0
V
GS
[V]
α
sat
= 0.5
m
µ
= 0.1
m
µ
= 0.0
Fig. 3.4: I
D
vs. V
DS
and I
D
vs. V
GS
for variations of the Psi-TFT parameters α
sat
and m
µ
:
a-b) variation of α
sat
, c-d) variation of m
µ
.
32 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
the model.
Table 3.4: MQC for Psi-TFT.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness good
Parameter Extraction medium
Stress Effects not included
The effective medium approach has also been used for studying the grain-size-dependent
mobility for pentacene-based OFETs [51] in order to yield an effective mobility
µ
eff
= µ
g
1
1 +nβ exp(qV
B
/kT)
, (3.14)
with µ
g
being the grain intrinsic mobility, n the number of grain boundaries along the chan-
nel, β the ratio between an effective grain-boundary size and the channel length, and V
B
the
potential barrier between grains. For polycrystalline silicon TFT (Psi-TFT) devices, similar
relationships have been exploited to derive closed-form drain-current equations in the form of
[52]
I
D
=
W
L
µ
eff
C
is
(V
GS
−V
T
)V
D
. (3.15)
Here, the drain current in the linear region is modeled. Results in [51] suggest that µ
eff
non-
linearly depends on the effective grain size and the gate-source voltage. Studies on the V
GS
dependence of Psi-TFT devices in [52] yielded a sixth-order polynomial needed for modeling
of the potential barrier V
B
(V
GS
). To the knowledge of the author of this work, this model
has not been applied to polycrystalline OFETs so far. It is suggested to further explore this
approach.
3.2.3 Model for Amorphous TFTs
Necliudov and colleagues [32] describe a model which improves the fitting between the Level-
1 model and experimental data for vapor-deposited pentacene OFETs. The model is based on
the assumption that above threshold, most of the charge carriers induced in the channel are
trapped and only a small fraction contributes to charge transport. A V
GS
-dependent mobility
reflects this property. The model is derived from the TFT model for amorphous silicon TFTs
(a-Si TFT). In a-Si TFTs, no long-range order of the silicon material exists. Instead, the atoms
are organized in a random network, which leads to many energy states in the forbidden band-
gap. These states are localized and statistically distributed. They arise from unterminated
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 33
bonds or variations of bond angle and bond length. Fig. 3.5 provides a schematic view of
the energy band diagrams of crystalline and amorphous silicon. In crystalline silicon, there is
a clear band gap without states between the edges of the valence band (E
V
) and conduction
band (E
C
). In amorphous silicon, no clearly-defined band gap exists.
band band
valence conduction
band band
valence conduction
d
e
n
s
i
t
y

o
f

s
t
a
t
e
s
energy
energy
d
e
n
s
i
t
y

o
f

s
t
a
t
e
s
a) crystalline
b) amorphous
states
localized
forbidden
band gap
E
V
E
C
E
C
E
V
Fig. 3.5: Schematic energy band diagram of a) crystalline silicon and b) amorphous silicon
(adaption from [53]).
Charge carriers trapped in band-gap states do not contribute to the drain current of the
FET. Hence, the effective mobility of a-Si TFTs is below the one of single-crystalline silicon
devices. Moreover, it depends on the gate voltage because at higher gate voltages, more trap
states are filled and therefore, more charge carriers of the ones injected at the source electrode
can contribute to the current flow.
3.2.3.1 Model Equations
The gate-voltage dependent mobility µ is described by a fitting function as
µ = µ
0

V
GS
−V
T
V
AA

γ
. (3.16)
Here, µ
0
, V
AA
, and γ are fitting parameters obtained from experimental data, where γ is a
power parameter and V
AA
is the characteristic voltage for the charge-carrier mobility [54].
34 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
[32] reported results for top-contact (TC) and bottom-contact (BC) pentacene devices.
Bottom-contact devices showed nonlinear output characteristics at gate-source voltages around
zero. These devices were modeled with constant source and drain series resistors and pairs of
Schottky diodes. Fig. 3.6 shows the configuration. The approach is an adaption of the RPI
model for amorphous silicon thin-film transistors (RPI a-Si TFT) [55] to organic transistors.
It is a fitting model which neglects the physical background of the equations.
S
R
S
R
D
G
D
Fig. 3.6: Equivalent circuit of a bottom-contact OFET with diodes and series resistors for
modeling non-linear contact resistance.
The Schottky diodes are modeled with an empirical extension to the basic Shockley equa-
tion. The extension introduces an ideality factor η which accounts for the influence of non-
ideal effects (η > 1) on the diode current [50]. This current I is
I = I
S
¸
exp

V
ηV
th

−1

. (3.17)
Here, I
S
is the saturation current, V the voltage drop across the diode, and V
th
is the thermal
voltage. η determines the steepness of the I-V characteristic of (3.17).
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 35
3.2.3.2 Experimental Extraction Results
Necliudov and colleagues obtained contact resistances in the range of 50 kΩ to 100 kΩ for
channel widths of 220 µm and a diode ideality factor η = 10 for a pentacene device with bot-
tom contacts. Detailed information on the parameters necessary for calculating the saturation
current is not given in [32]. Nevertheless, adequate extraction procedures for standard a-Si
TFTs are available e.g. in in [56, 57].
Table 3.5 provides model parameters for pentacene devices fabricated in both bottom-gate
top-contact (TC) and bottom-gate bottom-contact (BC) configuration [32].
Table 3.5: Typical model parameters of top-contact (TC) and bottom-contact (BC) pentacene
OFETs [32].
Type W/L R
S,D
V
T
µ
0
γ V
AA
η
TC 220 µm /30 µm 100 kΩ 5 V 10 cm
2
/Vs 0.45 300 kV -
BC 220 µm /20 µm 50 kΩ 13 V 10 cm
2
/Vs 0.38 19 kV 10
3.2.3.3 Discussion
The calculated mobility of a-Si TFTs in (3.16) effectively resembles the mobility calcula-
tion for polycrystalline silicon (Psi-TFT) in (3.9) so that comparable results can be expected.
However, the Psi-TFT model also includes a variation factor α
sat
for the onset of saturation
(see (3.11)) in the output characteristics I
D
vs. V
DS
. The a-Si RPI model also includes such a
factor, but Necliudov and colleagues did not use it maybe because α
sat
is difficult to separate
from contact effects.
In Table 3.6, a rating of the model for a-Si TFTs according to the model quality chart
defined in Section 3.1 is provided. The accuracy of the model with respect to pentacene tran-
sistors is good as demonstrated in [32]. Modeling of capacitances and bias-induced stress is
not included in the model. The model needs only six technology parameters (R
C
= R
S
= R
D
,
η, V
T
, µ
0
, γ, V
AA
), which increases its compactness (rating good). Contact effects influence
the shape of current-voltage characteristics in a non-linear way. Therefore, parameter extrac-
tion schemes which rely on curve fitting are difficult to employ. This property complicates
parameter extraction (rating bad). Necliudov et al. point out that they use the contact resistors
and diodes mainly to approximate the shape of the output characteristics in the linear region.
However, a more precise procedure would consist of measuring the contact resistances and
barriers beforehand and compensating their effects in the calculations of the other parameters.
Moreover, it was pointed out elsewhere [58] that although a FET with double, opposite diodes
at the electrodes provides a good I/V description, it lacks a physical basis. Therefore, other
36 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
research teams use transistor configurations with only two Schottky diodes instead of four in
order to model non-linear contact effects. One diode is placed at the source electrode and the
other at the drain electrode in opposite direction. For example, Brederlow and colleagues [33]
proposed a configuration with a transistor
2
, two contact resistors and two contact Schottky
diodes, as shown in Fig. 3.7. In normal operation, one diode is forward-biased while the other
operates in reverse breakdown operation. As an additional feature, the barrier height of each
diode is assumed to be gate-voltage-dependent in [33]. Details about the V
GS
dependence of
the contact diodes can be found in the cited paper. Procedures for dealing with non-linear
contact effects and for extracting diode parameters can be found e.g. in [46, 59].
Source
Drain
Gate
Fig. 3.7: Equivalent circuit for contact model with reverse- and forward-biased diodes (adap-
tion from [33]).
Table 3.6: MQC for a-Si TFT with contact diodes/resistors.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness good
Parameter Extraction bad
Stress Effects not included
Necliudov and colleagues [32] analyzed pentacene-based OFETs in bottom-gate config-
uration which were fabricated using lithographic processes. In a recent work by Bartzsch
et al. [60], the a-Si TFT model was successfully applied to all-printed p-type F8T2 transis-
tors. The F8T2 devices could be modeled with ohmic contact resistance (R
S
= R
D
= 70 kΩ).
Modeling of contact diodes was not needed for reproducing the measured output characteris-
tics. The reported device parameters are somewhat unexpected. As an example, V
AA
= 1 GV
and γ = 1 · 10
−10
of the investigated device suggest that the gate-source voltage does not
noticeably affect the charge-carrier mobility in (3.16).
2
However, the transistor is modeled by a MOSFET model instead of a TFT model. The approach is focused
on the modeling of the contacts.
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 37
3.2.4 Analytic VRH Models
In the following, different interpretations of the variable range hopping (VRH) model are
presented. In the VRH approach, thermally activated tunneling of carriers between localized
states, i.e. hopping, is assumed. The first analytical treatment of VRH-driven charge transport
in organic semiconductors was carried out by Vissenberg and Matters [61]. Meijer and co-
workers [62] provided qualitative equations dealing with the VRH-controlled current in the
linear region of OFETs. Calvetti et al. then provided full treatment of output characteristics
of OFETs based on the VRH approach, including calculations of device capacitances [63].
The model treated linear and saturation region and was later enhanced with equations for
subthreshold current by the same group [64].
In another approach, Fadlallah and colleagues [65] derived similar equations as in [63].
This time, however, the Universal Mobility Law (UML) described by Brown et al. in [3] was
used.
More recent studies by Schliewe and co-workers [66] are also based on the VRH approach,
but with emphasis on modeling the effect of the bulk conductivity on the drain current in the
linear region.
3.2.4.1 Meijer Switch-On Model
The switch-on model from Meijer and colleagues [62, 67] approaches transistor behavior
by use of a switch-on voltage V
SO
instead of the threshold voltage V
T
. V
SO
represents the
gate voltage at which accumulation of charge carriers begins (see also discussion on p. 59).
In the switch-on model, the conductivity of the transistor channel is determined using an
adaption of the variable-range hopping model [61]. The adaption employs the percolation-
defined conductivity [67]
σ(δ, T) = σ
0

δN
t
(T
0
/T)
4
sin(π
T
T
0
)
(2α)
3
B
C

T
0
T
(3.18)
in the gradual-channel approximation. Here, σ
0
is a prefactor of the conductivity, δ is a func-
tion of the temperature-dependent charge carrier occupation, N
t
is the density of localized
states, T
0
is a parameter representing the width of the exponential distribution, α is an effec-
tive overlap parameter between localized states, and B
C
is a critical number for the onset of
percolation (2.8 in three-dimensional amorphous systems).
38 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Meijer and colleagues calculated the drain current from (3.18) according to:
I
DS
=
W
L
V
DS
εsε
0
σ
0
q

T
2T
0
−T

2k
B
T
0
εsε
0
×

(
T
0
T
)
4
sin

π
T
T
0

(2α)
3
B
C

T
0
T
×

εsε
0
2k
B
T
0
C
i
(V
GS
−V
SO
)
εsε
0

2T
0
T
−1
.
(3.19)
Here, ε
s
and ε
0
are the relative permittivity of the semiconductor and the free permittivity of
vacuum, respectively.
In the switch-on model, the four parameters σ
0
, α
−1
, T
0
, and V
SO
are used for modeling
of the output characteristics. Meijer’s results [67] show agreement between experimental
data and simulations of poly(2,5-thienylen vinylene) (PTV), solution-processed pentacene,
and poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). Typical values for samples of these semiconductors are
given in Table 3.7.
Table 3.7: Representative parameters [67] for solution-processed OFETs modeled by the Mei-
jer switch-on model.
Material T
0
[K] σ
0
[10
6
S/m] α
−1
[Å] V
SO
[V]
PTV 382 5.6 1.5 1
Pentacene 385 3.5 3.1 1
P3HT 425 1.6 1.6 2.5
3.2.4.2 Brescia VRH model
While Meijer and co-workers used their VRH equations only as a tool to study the physical
properties of different materials, Calvetti and colleagues [63] from the University of Brescia,
Italy, elaborated an analytical model useful for circuit simulators like SPICE. The drain current
reads
I
D
= β
W
L
T
2T
0

(V
GS
−V
SO
)
2T
0
/T
−(V
GS
−V
DS
−V
SO
)
2T
0
/T

(3.20)
for an n-type device in the linear region (V
GS
−V
SO
> V
DS
) and
I
D
= β
W
L
T
2T
0
(V
GS
−V
SO
)
2T
0
/T
(3.21)
in the saturation region for V
GS
− V
SO
≤ V
DS
. The reader should note that in the original
publication [63], the flat-band voltage V
FB
is used for denoting the onset of accumulation. For
consistency reasons, however, V
SO
will be used in the following. The parameter β is defined
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 39
as
β =
σ
0
q
T
2T
0
−T
C
2T
0
/T−1
is
(2k
B
T
0
ε
s
ε
0
)
T
0
/T−1

(T
0
/T)
4
sin(πT/T
0
)
(2α)
3
B
C

T
0
/T
. (3.22)
In this equation, the parameters have their meaning as defined in Section 3.2.4.1. Calvetti et al.
also used the parameters in Table 3.7 and assumed ε
s
= 3.0 as well as C
is
= 1.3 ×10
−4
F/m
2
.
The Brescia model also treats the calculation of dynamic model behavior by specifying
equations for the induced charges Q
S
, Q
D
, and Q
G
at the terminals source, drain, and gate.
The calculations give rise to somewhat lengthy expressions. As an example, Q
G
reads
Q
G
= −WLC
is
Q
Gnum
Q
Gden
, (3.23)
Q
Gnum
=
T
2T
0
+ T
(V
2T
0
T
+1
GST
−V
2T
0
T
+1
GDT
) +
k
B
T
q
(V
2T
0
T
GST
−V
2T
0
T
GST
), (3.24)
Q
Gden
=
T
2T
0
(V
2T
0
T
GST
−V
2T
0
T
GDT
) +
2T
2T
0
−T
k
B
T
0
q
(V
2T
0
T
−1
GST
−V
2T
0
T
−1
GDT
). (3.25)
Here, V
GST
= V
G
− V
S
− V
SO
, and V
GDT
= V
G
− V
D
− V
SO
. From Q
G
, the gate-source
and gate-drain capacitances can be derived using
C
GS
=
Q
G
V
GS

V
GD
=const
, C
GD
=
Q
G
V
GD

V
GS
=const
. (3.26)
Fig. 3.8 shows a comparison of calculated capacitances C
GS
and C
GD
in the Brescia VRH
model with capacitances calculated by the Meyer model used in MOSFET models, both nor-
malized to C
g
= WLC
is
. Gate charge in the Meyer MOSFET model was calculated using
Q
G
=
2
3
C
is
V
3
GST
−V
3
GDT
V
2
GST
−V
2
GDT
. (3.27)
The plots were calculated for an OFET with pentacene as active layer. As indicated by the
plots, conventional Meyer model predicts capacitances with slightly different values than com-
puted with the Brescia capacitance model. The reader should note, however, that these calcu-
lations do not include the contribution of the overlap capacitance of the source/drain fingers
(see Fig. 2.4). If e.g. the drain/source fingers are assumed to have the same widths as the
length of the channel, additional overlap capacitances C
GSO
= C
GDO
= C
g
/2 would have
to be included. Consequently, the curves in Fig. 3.8 would have to be shifted up by 0.5. A
comparison of the curves shows that Meyer-based modeling of capacitances already provides
reasonable first-order approximation. Meyer-modeling of C
GS
will lead to voltage-dependent
capacitances (without considering overlap capacitances) which are 2% to 12% below the val-
ues predicted by the Brescia model. For C
GD
, the Brescia-modeled values can lag behind the
40 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Meyer-modeled capacitance values by up to 40%.
Meyer
VRH
Meyer
VRH
0.55
0.6
0.65
0.7
−30 −25 −20 −15 −10 −5
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
−30 −25 −20 −15 −10 −5
C
G
S
/
C
g
V
GS
[V]
C
G
D
/
C
g
V
GS
[V]
Fig. 3.8: Comparison of capacitance ratios C
GS
/C
g
and C
GD
/C
g
calculated with the Brescia
(solid lines) and Meyer model (stars), respectively. T
0
= 385 K (for pentacene) was used in
the VRH calculations.
Calvetti and colleagues also derived equations for the subthreshold region [64]. These
equations were found by numerical simulations of the two-dimensional potential and charge
distribution within the channel in the subthreshold region. The simulations showed that in
the subthreshold region, the conductivity is modulated by the depletion of the carriers in the
semiconductor layer. Moreover, the drain current in subthreshold operation can be determined
using the gradual channel approximation. However, the resulting relations are quite compli-
cated and will not be reproduced here. They can be found in [64].
3.2.4.3 UML Model
The model from Fadlallah and co-workers [65] is based on the observation by Brown and
colleagues [3] that the conductivity σ of charge carriers in a semiconductor film is given by
an empirical equation
σ = K

N
γ
A
, (3.28)
where N
A
is the doping-induced charge density in the semiconductor, K

and γ are fitting
parameters. The charge-carrier mobility µ is then approximated by the simple power law
µ = KN
γ−1
A
. (3.29)
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 41
Here, K is another fitting parameter. Brown et al. showed that this empirical power law can
be applied to a variety of polymer materials. Hence, the law is referred to as the Universal
Mobility Law (UML) in [65]. (3.29) can be employed for the mobility in the gradual channel
approximation in order to get
I
D,lin
=
K
(2m+ 1)(2m+ 2)
W
L
C
2m+1
is
(2k
B

0
ε
s
)
m

V
2(m+1)
GST
−(V
GST
−V
DS
)
2(m+1)

(3.30)
for the linear region (V
GS
− V
T
> V
DS
) of a p-type OFET. Here, m = γ − 1 and the voltage
V
GST
= V
GS
−V
T
while the other parameters have their usual meaning. The drain current in
the saturation region (V
GS
−V
T
< V
DS
) is given as
I
D,sat
=
K
(2m+ 1)(2m+ 2)
W
L
C
2m+1
is
(2k
B

0
ε
s
)
m
(V
GS
−V
T
)
2m+2
[1 +λ(V
DS
−V
GST
]. (3.31)
The cut-off current (for V
GS
> V
T
) is assumed to be independent of both the drain-source
voltage and the gate-source voltage and is modeled by
I
D,off
= I
00
W. (3.32)
I
00
is the current density in the cut-off region and W is the channel width of the device.
Modeling of capacitances on the basis of the UML model is also presented in [65]. The
threshold voltage V
T
was assumed to be equivalent to the switch-on voltage V
SO
of the device
so to get the total charge on the gate electrode of
Q
G
= C
is
WL
(2m+ 2)
(2m+ 3)
·
V
2m+3
GDT
−V
2m+3
GST
V
2m+2
GDT
−V
2m+2
GST
. (3.33)
Here, V
GDT
= V
G
− V
D
− V
SO
, V
GST
= V
G
− V
S
− V
SO
. It should be noted that ensuring
V
GST
≥ 0 and V
GDT
≥ 0 is necessary in the calculations in order to yield a correct charge in
(3.33). The gate-source capacitance is
C
GS
=
∂Q
G
∂V
GS

V
GD
=const
= −C
is
· W · L · V
2m+1
GST
·
2m+ 2
2m+ 3
×

(2m+ 2)V
2m+3
GDT
−(2m+ 3)V
2m+2
GDT
V
GST
+ V
2m+3
GST
(V
2m+2
GDT
−V
2m+2
GST
)
2

. (3.34)
42 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Similarly, the gate-drain capacitance is equivalent to
C
GD
=
∂Q
G
∂V
GD

V
GS
=const
= −C
is
· W · L · V
2m+1
GDT
·
2m + 2
2m + 3
×

(2m+ 2)V
2m+3
GST
−(2m+ 3)V
2m+2
GST
V
GDT
+ V
2m+3
GDT
(V
2m+2
GDT
−V
2m+2
GST
)
2

. (3.35)
Fadlallah and colleagues carried out validations of the Eldo implementation in order to
test the convergence in transient simulations of a ring oscillator. The ring oscillator consisted
of inverters in diode configuration (load transistor with gate and drain at negative supply, both
transistors with PTAA as semiconducting material). A comparison between measured and
simulated oscillation signals was not given in the publication.
The UML model and the Brescia model are almost identical if the following parameter
translation is used:
K =
σ
0
q

T
0
T

4
sin(π
T
T
0
)
(2α)
3
B
C

T
0
T
, m =
T
0
T
−1. (3.36)
The UML model provides treatment of the channel-length modulation while the Brescia
model contains more sophisticated equations dealing with the subthreshold currents. More-
over, the Brescia model works with the term 2k
B
T
0
ε
s
ε
0
while the UML model resorts to
2k
B

s
ε
0
.
3.2.4.4 Hamburg VRH Model
In another approach, Schliewe and colleagues [66] derived VRH equations for the steady-state
drain current:
I
D
= −
W
L
aC
is
b + 2

r
b+2
(V
SO
−V
GS
) −r
b+2
(V
SO
−V
GD
)

. (3.37)
Here, a and b are parameters derived from the relationship between the mobility and the gate
voltage
µ(x) = a(V
SO
−V
Gx
)
b
. (3.38)
V
Gx
represents the voltage between the gate and the position x along the semiconductor-
insulator interface, V
SO
is the switch-on voltage. r is a step function which allows using one
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 43
unified equation for the linear and saturation region. It is defined as
r(V ) =

V, V ≥ 0
0, V < 0.
(3.39)
(3.37) and (3.30) are equivalent for
a =
K
2m+ 1
C
2m
is
(2k
B

0
ε
s
)
m
, b = 2m. (3.40)
3.2.4.5 Discussion
The analytical VRH models presented in this section are physics-based models which qualita-
tively predict transistor behavior. In this way, they differ from other models discussed earlier
in this chapter. The other models simply extend existing approaches developed for inorganic
technologies.
Table 3.8 provides a rating of the physical models with respect to the model quality chart
presented in Section 3.1. Accuracy has been rated as good according to the data provided in
[62, 63, 65, 66, 67]. Modeling of capacitances is included. The physical models work with a
limited set of parameters, which improves their compactness and leads to a rating of good in
this category. Parameter extraction has been rated as medium because it is more difficult than
in the case of Level-1 modeling. Stress effects are not included in any of the analytical VRH
models.
Table 3.8: MQC for analytical VRH models.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling good
Compactness good
Parameter Extraction medium
Stress Effects not included
3.2.5 General Table-based Models
Table-based models avoid the problems of parameter extraction. These models store tables
of output characteristics in a compressed form. The tables are then used in the simulations in
order to derive the behavior of a device. Such approaches completely disregard physics-based
parameters and instead focus on accurate reproduction of measured values.
44 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
In Table 3.9, table-based models have been rated according to the model quality chart
developed in Section 3.1. Accuracy in reproducing a reference device is excellent because
its characteristics are stored in a table. Modeling of capacitances can also be carried out
accurately by use of tables if the simulation environment supports tables for nodal charges
(e.g. Tanner T-Spice [68]). Parameter extraction is not required.
Compactness has been rated as bad because table-based modeling generally does not pro-
vide parameters which can be accessed by the users. Moreover, these internal parameters
are without physical meaning or relations to device structure. This fact complicates those
statistical modeling approaches where correlations between variations of physical and/or ge-
ometrical device properties and output characteristics are analyzed. Therefore, stress effects
are also difficult to include in the models.
Owing to the missing influence on the output characteristics, table-based modeling is not
suited for the exploratory study of parameter variations. However, it can be a viable tool in
combination with two-dimensional transistor simulators because it provides rapid modeling
without the need to derive model parameters.
Table 3.9: MQC for table models.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling good
Compactness bad
Parameter Extraction not needed
Stress Effects not included
3.2.6 Dresden Model
Gay and colleagues [69] fromthe Dresden University of Technology developed a model which
completely disregards the physical background of modeling. Instead, it resorts to powerful
fitting functions and focuses on the simulation of analog circuits which require accurate tran-
sistor models [25].
3.2.6.1 Model Equations
The Dresden model is based on the observation that the individual curves of the output charac-
teristics I
D
vs. V
DS
are similar in shape. A curve for a particular gate voltage V
GS,0
is used as
a template and is described by a reference or shape function f and powerful fitting functions
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 45
that map f to alternate geometries and V
GS
values. The drain current is described as
I
D
= K
G
· f
¸
V
DS
τ(V
GS
)

· h(V
GS
). (3.41)
Here, K
G
is a geometry factor which scales arbitrary transistors to the geometry of a reference
transistor for which the function f is derived. K
G
is calculated according to
K
G
=
W/L
W
R
/L
R
, (3.42)
where W/L and W
R
/L
R
are the width-to-length ratios of the actual and the reference de-
vice, respectively. f approximates the current-voltage shape of the reference transistor at a
predefined gate voltage V
GS,0
. It is defined as
f(V
DS
) = −10
X
f
with X
f
=
¸
i
a
i
exp(−b
i
V
DS
). (3.43)
Here, a
i
and b
i
are fitting parameters used for approximating the reference curve. The scale
function h scales the drain current with respect to different V
GS
values where h(V
GS,0
) = 1.
The approximation function is
h(V
GS
) = 10
X
h
with X
h
=
¸
i
c
i
· exp(−d
i
· V
GS
). (3.44)
Here, c
i
and d
i
are fitting parameters. The delay function τ is used for stretching the reference
function f with respect to different V
GS
values where τ(V
GS,0
) = 1. τ is defined as
τ(V
GS
) = 10

with X
τ
=
¸
i
p
i
· exp(−q
i
· V
GS
). (3.45)
Again, p
i
and q
i
are fitting parameters.
The parameters a
i
and b
i
in the reference function f are fitted to measured drain current
points. c
i
, d
i
and p
i
, q
i
are then concurrently extracted with an optimization scheme.
Device variability is introduced by additional parameters in the drain current equations:
I
D
= K
s
· K
G
· f

V
DS
τ + τ
s

· h(V
GS
−V
ON
). (3.46)
Here, K
S
is a current scale factor, V
ON
is used for shifting the switch-on voltage, and τ
s
is
used for shifting the delay of the transition between the linear and the saturation region. Gay
and colleagues modeled these three parameters with normal distributions, which they obtained
from measurements.
46 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Fig. 3.9 shows the output characteristics and the fitting functions for a pentacene device
generated with parameters from Table 3.10.
3.2.6.2 Discussion
In the Dresden model, the function f from (3.43) is used for compressing the measured values
into a more tractable form. Gay et al. use power series in order to approximate the shape of
measured drain current values. They thereby ignore any physical background responsible for
the shape of the curves.
The numerous parameters in the model can be derived easily but are not based on any
physical assumption or meaning. Therefore, there is no direct relationship to material or
process properties.
The Dresden model accounts for dynamic hysteresis effects by adding an RC network
which simulates the delayed transport of mobile charges within the insulator [69]. Moreover,
statistical variation of individual devices is addressed.
Table 3.11 contains ratings for the Dresden models according to the model quality chart
presented in Section 3.1. Accuracy has been rated as good according to the comparisons be-
tween the model and measurement data presented in [69]. The compactness has been rated
as bad because many fitting coefficients (14 in the example from Table 3.10) without physical
meaning are needed. In the parameter extraction, curve fitting is necessary. The fitted param-
eters are not independent of each other because there is no “true” set of parameters describing
the transistor. When different V
GS0
values are used (i.e. different shape functions f), differ-
ent coefficients result. Therefore, the parameter extraction has been rated as medium. Stress
effects are included in the model by simple RC networks. Hence a rating of medium has been
given. Explicit modeling of capacitances is not mentioned in [69]. Judging from results pre-
sented in [69], constant capacitors for C
GS
and C
GD
are probably used. The Dresden model
easily copes with contact effects. Nevertheless, there is no link between the fitting coefficients
and physical or structural parameters. As an example, the influence of contact resistances is
hidden in the fitting coefficients from which it cannot readily be extracted. Moreover, phys-
ically meaningful parameters like the threshold voltage are missing. Therefore, the Dresden
model is of limited use for device technologists who want to explore the influence of future
process changes on electrical device parameters.
3.2.7 Modeling of Complementary OFETs
The modeling of transistors used in complementary organic circuits is no special problem as
dedicated models for the n-type and p-type transistors can be used.
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 47
Table 3.10: Fitting parameters for typical bottom-gate bottom-contact pentacene transistor
[69] with pronounced contact resistance.
Shape function f Scale function h Delay function τ
a
1
-1.2737 b
1
0.4115 c
1
-3.8416 d
1
0.2432 p
1
-1.9399 q
1
0.1215
a
2
-6.7432 b
2
1.2e-4 c
2
0.8047 d
2
-0.0175 p
2
1.1035 q
2
0.0277
a
3
-1.0077 b
3
1.9633 – – – – – – – –
0.5
1.5
2.5
3.5
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
4.0
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
1.0
−4.0
−6.0
−8.0
0.0
−10u
−20u
−30u
−40u
−50u
−60u
−70u
0u
−14 −12 −10 −8 −6 −4 −2 0
−10 −8 −6 −4 −2
−10 −8 −6 −4 −2 0
0
−2.0
−10.0
−12.0
−14.0
−16.0
−18.0
−14 −12 −10 −8 −6 −4 −2 0
I
D
[
A
]
h
(
V
G
S
)
f
(
V
G
S
)
τ
(
V
G
S
)
V
DS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
x 10
−8
x
Fig. 3.9: Transfer characteristic and Dresden-type fitting functions for a sample pentacene
transistor ([69]).
48 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Table 3.11: MQC for Dresden model.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness bad
Parameter Extraction medium
Stress Effects medium
3.2.8 Modeling of Ambipolar OFETs
OFETs normally operate as unipolar devices where only one type of carriers (holes in p-type
and electrons in n-type semiconductors) contributes to the current flow. Ambipolar devices
are a special class of OFETs where both holes and electrons can contribute to the current
flow, depending on the bias voltages at drain, gate, and source. The operation of ambipolar
devices will be explained in the following with the aid of [13, 58]. Here, a zero threshold
voltage and positive drain and gate voltages will be assumed. When the gate voltage lies in
the range between the drain and source voltage, the drain side of a standard unipolar transistor
normally gets pinched off. In ambipolar devices instead, charge carriers of opposite polarity
are accumulated in this region. The device is then effectively composed of two regions in
series as shown in Fig. 3.10: a hole-accumulating region of length L
p
is series-connected to
an electron-accumulating region of length L
n
.
With the assumption of equal currents in both regions, i.e.
1
2
W
L
p
C
is
µ
p
(V
DS
−V
GS
)
2
=
1
2
W
L
n
C
is
µ
n
V
2
GS
, (3.47)
and a total length
L
n
+ L
p
= L, (3.48)
the drain current for V
DS
> 0 is
I
D
=
1
2
W
L
C
is

n
V
2
GS
+ µ
p
(V
DS
−V
GS
)
2
]. (3.49)
(3.49) is equivalent to a p-type and an n-type transistor of equal dimensions W and L in
parallel. For the p-type device, however, the position of the drain and source electrodes is
flipped owing to the requirement that V
S,p
> V
D,p
, where V
S,p
and V
D,p
are the effective
source and drain voltages of the p-type device. During a V
DS
sweep with a fixed V
GS
, the
n-type device is operated in normal FET mode while the p-type device has a constant gate-
drain voltage V
GD,p
. Hence, the latter displays a diode-like drain current, which increases
3.2. Existing Models for OFETs 49
holes
electrons
c
h
a
r
g
e

d
e
n
s
i
t
y
0
position along the channel
p
o
t
e
n
t
i
a
l
drain
source
L
p
L
n
V
DS
V
GS
Fig. 3.10: Schematic charge and potential distribution in the channel of an ambipolar OFET
with V
S
< V
G
< V
D
(adaption from [58]).
with decreasing gate voltages. Therefore, a diode-like characteristic adds to the normal drain
current, which also increases with reduced gate-source voltage.
For V
DS
< 0, the situation is reversed and the p-type device acts as the normal transistor
and the n-type device contributes current in diode-like form.
Fig. 3.11 shows the schematic output characteristics of an ambipolar OFET. For the I/V
curves, a p-type transistor and an n-type transistor in parallel with µ
n
= µ
p
= 10
−4
cm
2
/Vs
have been assumed. In order to show the individual contributions of the two transistors,
V
T,n
= 10 V and V
T,p
= -8 V have been chosen.
Models developed in literature on ambipolar OFETs can be reduced to a parallel combina-
tion of a p-type and an n-type transistor. Schmechel et al. [70] used simple Level-1 equations
(see Section 3.2.1) to map drain-current behavior. Meijer and co-workers [13] employed an
analytic VRH model (see Section 3.2.4) in order to explain the increasing influence of the
gate-source voltage. Both models can be implemented using a parallel combination of the re-
spective unipolar devices, i.e. p-type and n-type Level-1-modeled devices for the Schmechel
approach as well as p-type and n-type VRH-modeled devices for the Meijer approach.
50 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
4.0u
3.0u
2.0u
1.0u
0.0u
−1.0u
−2.0u
−3.0u
−4.0u
−30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30
V
GS
= 20 V
0 V
-20 V
0 V
5 V
15 V 10 V
V
DS
[V] →
I
D
[
A
]

Fig. 3.11: Schematic output characteristic for an ambipolar OFET with gate-source voltage
swept from -20 to 20 V.
3.3 Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction
Users of transistor models are interested in simple extraction procedures for relevant model
parameters like threshold voltage or mobility. Numerous approaches can be used for extract-
ing important parameters. In the following, frequently used procedures will be presented. A
more thorough analysis of suitable extraction procedures for the threshold voltage and other
important device parameters can be found e.g. in [27, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75].
3.3.1 Procedures for the Level-1 Model
In this section, popular extraction methods for parameters of the Level-1 model are listed.
These methods are also frequently used in the extraction of OFET parameters.
Threshold Voltage
The threshold voltage V
T
is one of the three parameters of the Level-1 model. V
T
can be ex-
tracted in numerous ways. In the following, some frequently cited methods will be presented.
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 51
1. Extraction in the Linear Region
V
T
can be extracted by plotting the channel conductance
g
d
=
∂I
D
∂V
DS
≈ β(V
GS
−V
T
) (3.50)
for “small values” of V
DS
[76]. In literature on parameter extraction, voltages in the order of
10 mV are proposed for V
DS
[71]. Fig. 3.12 illustrates a simulated sample curve
3
for (3.50).
0.0
0 10 20 30 40 50
1.0u
2.0u
3.0u
4.0u
5.0u
6.0u
0.0
10.0u
20.0u
30.0u
40.0u
50.0u
60.0u
70.0u
80.0u
90.0u
0 10 20 30 40 50
slope β · V
DS
V
T
I
D
[
A
]
V
GS
[V]
V
T
slope β
g
d
[
A
/
V
]
V
GS
[V]
Fig. 3.12: Plot of channel conductance g
d
vs. V
GS
and drain current I
D
vs. V
GS
. Both plots
are for V
DS
= 10 mV. Data has been taken from a simulated device which operates according
to the Level-1 equations.
Extrapolating the channel conductance curve to zero leads to the threshold voltage as g
d
=
0 A/V at V
GS
equal to V
T
in (3.50).
The drain current I
D
can also be used for extracting the threshold voltage V
T
without
the need to derive g
d
(also shown in Fig. 3.12). Again, V
T
is obtained by inspecting the
extrapolated intersection of I
D
with the V
GS
axis at zero current. The extrapolation is done
at the point of maximum slope, i.e. where the transconductance g
m
= ∂I
D
/∂V
GS
reaches its
maximum [71].
By extrapolating g
d
or I
D
in the linear region, series resistance at source and drain of the
device can be neglected as a drain-source voltage V
DS
≪ 1V is used. On the other hand, the
transfer characteristic of real OFET devices can considerably deviate fromthe idealistic Level-
1 model. This generally complicates finding the most useful extrapolation point required in
the intercept calculations.
3
Model data: n-type device, K
P
= 1 nA/V
2
, V
T
= 8 V, λ = 1 · 10
−3
1/V, W/L = 200.
52 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
2. Extraction in the Saturation Region
In the saturation region, V
T
can be extracted by inspecting the transconductance g
m
. The
transconductance of a transistor denotes the variation of the output current resulting from a
variation of the input voltage and is calculated in the saturation region by
g
m
=
∂I
D
∂V
GS

V
DS
=const
= β(V
GS
−V
T
). (3.51)
In (3.51), the channel-length modulation is neglected by setting λ = 0. Extrapolation of the
transconductance curve to zero leads to the threshold voltage V
T
[76].
Alternatively, the square root of the drain current can be used. From (3.3)

I
D
=

β
2
(V
GS
−V
T
), (3.52)
results when again neglecting the channel-length modulation. The threshold voltage V
T
is
extracted by extrapolating

I
D
to zero [77]. Fig. 3.13 depicts the extraction procedure for the
g
m
and

I
D
method.
0.0
10.0u
20.0u
30.0u
40.0u
50.0u
60.0u
70.0u
80.0u
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.0
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
25.0m
30.0m
35.0m
40.0m
0 10 20 30 40 50
V
T
slope β
V
GS
[V]
g
m
[
A
/
V
]
V
T
slope

β
2
V
GS
[V]

I
D
[

A
]
Fig. 3.13: Plot of the transconductance g
m
vs. V
GS
and the square root of the transfer charac-
teristic. Data have been taken from a simulated device with Level-1 equations.
Mobility
With the threshold voltage established, other parameters like the charge-carrier mobility µ can
be analyzed. µ is an important parameter in the assessment of device performance and is often
used as a benchmark number (see e.g. [78]) in the comparison of different semiconductors.
In this section, extraction methods for the mobility are presented.
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 53
1. Extraction in the Linear Region
From the slope of g
d
or I
D
in Fig. 3.12, the device conductance parameter β can be established
[77]. According to (3.5),
µ =
β
C
is
L
W
. (3.53)
It can also be calculated at individual points using the transconductance parameter
g
m
≈ βV
DS
(3.54)
in the linear region. Solving this equation with respect to β and inserting (3.53) [79] leads to
µ =
L
W
g
m
C
is
V
DS
. (3.55)
2. Extraction in the Saturation Region
In the saturation region, the slopes of the g
m
and

I
D
curves as shown in Fig. 3.13 can be
used for deriving the device conductance parameter β. (3.53) can then be employed in the
extraction of the mobility µ.
Alternatively, the mobility can be calculated at individual points. By inspecting the transcon-
ductance g
m
from (3.51), the mobility can be calculated using (3.53) [80] with
µ = g
m
·
L
W
1
C
is
(V
GS
−V
T
)
. (3.56)
In [78], the mobility is calculated by deriving (3.52) with respect to the gate-source voltage


I
D
∂V
GS
=

W
2L
µC
is
(3.57)
and solving for the mobility
µ = 2C
is
L
W



I
D
∂V
GS

2
. (3.58)
In order to solve (3.56) V
T
has to be available while (3.58) and (3.55) are independent of
V
T
. Nevertheless, calculation of the derivatives is needed.
Channel length Modulation
The channel length modulation parameter λ can be extracted from the saturation region of the
output characteristics when the threshold voltage and the device conductance β are known.
54 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
The saturation current is given as
I
DSat
= β(V
GS
−V
T
)
2
(1 +λV
DS
). (3.59)
This relationship gives rise to two approaches. First, the channel conductance including
the channel length modulation
g
d
=
∂I
D
∂V
DS
= λβ(V
GS
−V
T
)
2
(3.60)
can be used for calculating the channel-length modulation. This results in a value of
λ =
∂I
D
∂V
DS
β(V
GS
−V
T
)
2
. (3.61)
It can also be derived graphically by inspecting the slope of the channel conductance in the
saturation region with respect to the drain-source voltage V
DS
as shown in Fig. 3.14.
0.0
5.0u
10.0u
15.0u
20.0u
25.0u
30.0u
35.0u
40.0u
45.0u
0 10 30 40 50 20
V
DS
[V]
≈ 490 nA/V
g
d
[
A
/
V
]
Fig. 3.14: Extrapolation of λ from the channel conductance (g
d
) vs. drain-source voltage V
DS
plot.
Contact Resistance
The Level-1 model does not include the influence of contact resistances between the transistor
channel and the source and drain electrodes. Nevertheless, the role of contact resistances in
transistor modeling is very important as will be shown in the following. Contact resistances
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 55
can be modeled by adding series resistors to the transistor as shown in Fig. 3.15.
G
M V
DS
D
DP
SP
R
S
R
D
V
GS
S
Fig. 3.15: Elementary Level-1 transistor with contact resistors at drain and source.
The schematic in Fig. 3.15 contains a transistor M. The device has two series resistors
R
S
and R
D
which account for the contact resistance at the source and drain electrodes to the
channel. Both resistors affect the transistor voltages in a way such that the actual gate-source
voltage V

GS
between nodes G and SP is
V

GS
= V
GS
−I
D
· R
S
(3.62)
and the actual drain-source voltage V

DS
between nodes DP and SP is
V

DS
= V
DS
−I
D
· (R
S
+ R
D
). (3.63)
In the following, the influence of the series resistors will be analyzed. First, R
D
shall be
neglected (R
D
= 0 Ω) and for simplified calculations, λ shall be dropped (λ = 0), too. The
drain current in the saturation region can then be expressed by inserting (3.62) and (3.5) into
(3.3):
I
D
=
β
2
(V

GS
−V
T
)
2
=
β
2
(V
GS
−I
D
· R
S
−V
T
)
2
. (3.64)
The solution for this equation is given by [81]
I
D
=
1 + 2βR
S
V
GST


1 + 4βR
S
V
GST
2βR
2
S
, (3.65)
with V
GST
= V
GS
− V
T
. The source resistance R
S
reduces the effective device conductance
56 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
parameter β. Fig. 3.16 illustrates this behavior.
40 V
20 V
30 V
0.0
1.0m
1.2m
1.4m
1.6m
1.8m
2.0m
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.8m
0.6m
0.4m
0.2m
V
GS
= 50 V
V
DS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]
Fig. 3.16: Effect of the source resistance on the drain current: simulated curves for a transistor
with R
S
(dashed lines) and the same transistor without the contact resistance (solid lines).
If only R
D
is considered (R
S
= 0 Ω), the drain current in the saturation region does not
change but the boundary between the linear and saturation region shifts as demonstrated by
the following equation (V
Sat
= effective saturation voltage, V

Sat
= saturation voltage between
DP and SP):
V
Sat
= V

Sat
+ β · V
2
GST
· R
D
V
GST
=V

Sat
= V
GST
+ βV
2
GST
· R
D
. (3.66)
An effective threshold voltage V

T
can be derived from (3.66) by noting that
V

T
= V
T
−βR
D
V
2
GST
. (3.67)
(3.67) shows that the effective threshold voltage V

T
depends on V
GST
by a square-law
relationship for R
S
= 0 Ω. Its influence on the drain current is shown in Fig. 3.17.
If both series resistors are active (R
S
> 0 Ω and R
D
> 0 Ω) and V

GST
= V

GS
−V
T
then
V
Sat
= V

Sat
+ I
DSat
· (R
S
+ R
D
) = V

GST
+ β(R
S
+ R
D
)V
′2
GST
. (3.68)
The above discussion shows that the contact resistance degrades device performance by
reducing the effective drain-source and gate-source voltages. There exist various methods of
determining the contact resistance. In the following, three frequently used methods will be
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 57
40 V
30 V
20 V
0.0
0.6m
1.0m
1.2m
1.4m
1.6m
1.8m
2.0m
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.8m
0.4m
0.2m
V
GS
= 50 V
V
DS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]
Fig. 3.17: Effect of drain resistance on the drain current: simulated curves for a transistor with
R
D
(dashed lines) and the same transistor without the contact resistance (solid lines).
presented.
1. Determination by Channel Length Variation
Using a systematic variation of the channel length, the resistance between source and drain
can be measured in the linear region as
R
M
=
V
DS
I
D
=
L
W
1
µC
is
(V
GS
−V
T
)
+ R
c
= G
0
· L + R
c
. (3.69)
Here, R
c
is the contact resistance (R
C
= R
S
+ R
D
) while G
0
is the contribution of the
transistor independent of its channel length. The latter is defined as
G
0
=
1
W · µC
is
(V
GS
−V
T
)
. (3.70)
The contact resistance can then be established by measuring the drain-current characteris-
tics for transistor devices with identical transistor widths but varying lengths and extrapolating
R
c
from the R
M
vs. L plot to L = 0 µm. Fig. 3.18 shows a sample curve for the approach.
2. Determination with Potential Profiling
This method is directly applicable to transistors with a bottom-gate bottom-contact structure
where the semiconductor is deposited last and the potential profile along the channel can be
58 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
30 V
40 V
50 V
0.0
1.0M
1.5M
2.0M
200.0u 150.0u 100.0u 50.0u 0.0
0.5M
R
C
V
GS
= 20 V
V
DS
= 1 V
L [m]
R
M
[

]
Fig. 3.18: Measured resistance (R
M
) vs. channel length (L) of devices with fixed channel
width: squares are the values according to (3.69) and solid lines are obtained from SPICE
simulations at V
DS
= 1 V.
measured by use of potential probes ([44, 82]). Alternatively, sampling electrodes similar
to four-point probes [83] have to be present in the channel in order to measure the channel
potential at predefined locations. A sample profile for a device operating in the linear region
is depicted in Fig. 3.19. On the y axis, the potential profile is plotted with x being the position
along the channel. At the source contact, x = 0 µm and at the drain contact, x = L. L is the
length of the transistor channel. The value R
S
for the source contact resistance and the value
R
D
for the drain contact resistances can be readily extracted from the potential drop at source
and drain.
3. Determination with the SJ method
The idea of the SJ method (named after its inventors Suciu and Johnston [84]) is to assume
that I
D
can be modeled in the linear region by
I
D
= β(V
GS
−V
T
)V

DS
= β(V
GS
−V
T
)(V
DS
−I
D
· R
C
), (3.71)
with V

DS
being the actual drain-source voltage at the transistor and R
C
the sum of source and
drain resistance (R
S
+ R
D
). The explicit form of (3.71) is
I
D
=
β(V
GS
−V
T
)
1 +R
C
β(V
GS
−V
T
)
V
DS
. (3.72)
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 59
position
0 L
source drain
e
l
e
c
t
r
i
c

p
o
t
e
n
t
i
a
l
y
x
R
S
· I
D
R
D
· I
D
Fig. 3.19: Schematic potential profile along the channel of a bottom-gate bottom-contact tran-
sistor (adaption from [82]).
(3.72) can be rearranged to yield
x
I
D
/V
DS
=
1 +R
C
β · x
β
≡ E(x) = E
0
+ ∆Ex, (3.73)
where x = V
GS
−V
T
and I
D
/V
DS
is the reciprocal of the resistance R
M
which can be measured
by taking I
D
from a real device. (3.73) is equivalent to
x · R
M
= E
0
+ ∆Ex, (3.74)
with E
0
= 1/β and ∆E = R
C
. Fig. 3.20 illustrates the resulting curve E(x).
Suciu and Johnston emphasize that their approach is an analytical extraction procedure
which does not need any optimization procedures. Although the influence of the source re-
sistance R
S
on the gate-source voltage V
GS
is neglected in the calculations, the error can be
minimized by taking the measurements at small I
D
values.
3.3.2 Extraction Procedures for TFT Models
The most important parameter in the model for Psi-TFTs is the threshold voltage from which
the other parameters depend in an extraction procedure. Jacunski et al. [47] give two practical
definitions of the threshold voltage:
1. The voltage above which the drain current no longer exponentially depends on V
GS
.
2. The voltage above which a MOS-like drain current expression can be used.
60 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
0.0
2.0M
4.0M
6.0M
8.0M
10.0M
12.0M
14.0M
50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0
V
DS
= 1 V
∆E = R
C
E
0
=
1
β
V
GS
[V]
E
(
x
)
Fig. 3.20: Plot of the extraction function E(x) for the contact resistance.
Threshold voltages obtained by the first definition can considerably differ from voltages de-
rived with the other solution as there is a broad transition range from subthreshold operation in
the first definition to accumulation operation from the second definition. The second method
was also adopted by the IEEE standard on the characterization of OFET devices [48]. This
standard defines the threshold voltage as the minimum gate voltage required to induce the
channel. The value is extracted from I
DS
vs. V
GS
measurements.
The definitions in [47] demonstrate the difficulties in exactly describing the threshold volt-
age. In the case of conventional silicon MOSFETs, the threshold voltage is defined as the
gate-source voltage where the strong inversion layer starts to form. For inorganic thin-film
transistors, an additional on-voltage V
ON
was introduced [41]. V
ON
is found by inspecting
the log I
D
vs. V
GS
curve at low drain-source voltages. The on voltage is the point where
log I
D
reaches its minimum and becomes linear. According to [41], the physical meaning of
V
ON
in polycrystalline silicon TFTs is that at V
GS
= V
ON
the transistor channel starts form-
ing. However, induced carriers are still trapped in band-gap states. At a gate bias equal to
the threshold voltage V
T
, induced charges begin to appear as mobile carriers in the channel.
Fig. 3.21 illustrates the differences between V
ON
and V
T
.
[62, 85] simply define V
ON
as the switch-on voltage. This voltage is the value of V
GS
where the lowest drain current is measured. A similar definition is used in the RPI model.
In the grain-boundary model, the mobility µ depends on the gate-source voltage (see (3.8)
and (3.9)). Therefore, obtaining the threshold voltage V
T
by plotting

I
D
vs. V
GS
as usually
applied in literature on parameter extraction leads to incorrect values. Extracted threshold
voltages tend to be more favorable than the true parameter. Fig. 3.22 illustrates this behavior.
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 61
100.0f
1.0p
10.0p
100.0p
1.0n
10.0n
100.0n
1.0u
10.0u
100.0u
−4 −2 0 2 4 6 8 10
0.0
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
25.0m
30.0m
35.0m
V
T
V
ON
I
D
[
A
]
V
GS
[V]
3

I
D
[
3

A
]
Fig. 3.21: Definition of V
ON
and V
T
.
The plot shows log I
D
and

I
D
of a simulated transistor. In the simulation, I
D
∼ (V
GS
−V
T
)
3
in saturation and V
T
= 1 V was used. The parameter set of the device is identical to the one
used in Fig. 3.21. An extraction with square-root plotting leads to the incorrect threshold
voltage of V
T
≈ 3 V.
100.0f
1.0p
10.0p
100.0p
1.0n
10.0n
100.0n
1.0u
10.0u
100.0u
−4 −2 0 2 4 6 8 10
0.0
1.0m
2.0m
3.0m
4.0m
5.0m
6.0m
7.0m
V
T
V
GS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]

I
D
[

A
]
Fig. 3.22: Extraction of the threshold voltage by use of the

I
D
vs. V
GS
method on a transistor
with I
D
∼ (V
GS
−V
T
)
3
in the saturation region.
62 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
The preceding discussion shows that knowing the power factor α in the current expression
I
D
∼ (V
GS
−V
T
)
α
for the saturation current is necessary in order to correctly extract the
threshold voltage V
T
.
The power factor α can e.g. be derived by plotting log I
D
vs. log (V
GS
− V
T
). The slope
of the resulting line yields α. In Psi-TFT modeling, α = m
µ
+2 and should not be intermixed
with α
sat
. Here m
µ
is the mobility parameter of the device in (3.9). Extraction of α with
log-log plotting requires knowledge about the exact value of V
T
. It can therefore not be used
for extracting α and then the threshold voltage V
T
. Variations about the exact V
T
value lead
to bent curves in the log I
D
vs. log (V
GS
−V
T
).
Fig. 3.23 shows two log I
D
vs. log (V
GS
−V

T
) plots for one single device where threshold
voltages of V

T
= 1 V and of -1 V have been assumed. The actual I
D
curve has a threshold
voltage of V
T
= 1 V and a power factor α = 3. The left plot shows a curve with a slope of
three above the x value of approximately 0.3 and a steeper slope below that value. The latter is
due to the interaction between the above-threshold and the subthreshold current. The second
plot has been calculated with an anticipated threshold voltage of -1 V and does not show a
linear shape. This result demonstrates that the anticipated threshold voltage affects extraction
of the power factor α.
−8.0
−7.5
−7.0
−6.5
−6.0
−5.5
−5.0
−4.5
−4.0
−3.5
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4
log(V
GS
−V

T
)
l
o
g
I
D
V

T
= 1 V
V

T
= −1 V
Fig. 3.23: Extraction of the power factor α for I
D
∼ (V
GS
−V
T
)
α
. The V

T
values are used in
the x axis calculations.
3.3. Popular Procedures for Parameter Extraction 63
Unified Extraction Method
An analytic approach for both polycrystalline and amorphous TFT transistors called Unified
Extraction Method (UEM) has been proposed by Estrada et al. in [56]. The method was
originally developed for a-Si TFTs [57] and defines an extraction function H such that
H(V
GS
) =
V
G

0
I
DSat
(V
GS
)dV
GS
I
DSat

V
G
−V
T
α + 1
, (3.75)
Here, I
DSat
(V
GS
) = K(V
GS
− V
T
)
α
, K is a conductance parameter, and α is an empirical
power factor. An n-type transistor and V
G
> V
T
is assumed in the following discussions.
The procedure consists of the following steps:
1. Compute H(V
GS
) from measured I
DSat
(V
GS
) characteristics.
2. Fit a line to H(V
GS
) and extract values for α and V
T
from the slope and the intercept
point of H with the V
GS
axis.
3. Calculate the conductance parameter K according to K = I
DSat
/(V
GS
−V
T
)
α
.
The method can also be extended to polycrystalline silicon TFTs (Psi-TFT) by translating
the parameters used in (3.75) to parameters of Psi-TFTs. Details of the process are given in
[56]. The method is also useful in the calculation of the channel-length modulation λ and
series resistance R = R
S
+ R
D
(R
S
/R
D
is the source/drain-side series resistance). In [46],
UEM
4
has also been used for extracting parameters for pentacene-based devices in bottom-
gate configuration. The method also accounts for constant and diode-like contact resistances.
Details about the extraction scheme can be found in [46].
An alternate way of correctly deriving the threshold voltage and power factor is demon-
strated in Section 4.3.2.
3.3.3 Parameter Fitting
As an alternative to an analytic extraction, fitting procedures can be used for deriving model
parameters. Such schemes employ an optimization engine to find a feasible set of parameters
to describe given output characteristics. Usually, the least-squares sum of the difference be-
tween model prediction and original data is used for measuring the quality of a fit [25, 86]. In
contrast to the graphics-based and analytic procedures described earlier, parameter fitting can
be applied to any model with a valid analytical description. However, the fitting engine needs
initial values for the parameters to extract. Another drawback of parameter fitting is that the
4
Later in [46], UEM was renamed to Unified Model and parameter Extraction Method (UMEM).
64 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
solver could find a local minimum or a physically incorrect set of parameters. The interested
reader is referred e.g. to [87] for a discussion of optimization algorithms.
Discussion of Parameter Fitting
Analytical extraction generally requires special measurement setups and knowledge on feasi-
ble models to use in order to derive model parameters. Parameter fitting does not depend on
such setups and is more general. However, extraction problems often consist of many param-
eters to find. This situation complicates parameter fitting as extraction engines often get stuck
at local minima in multidimensional fitting problems. Moreover, the extraction process needs
a sensible starting point for the extraction. Nevertheless, a numerical solver is far easier to
implement in computer software than an analytical or graphical extraction scheme.
3.4 Automation of Modeling
For the users of circuit simulation in the optimization of OFET devices, automatic parameter
extraction is important. Each time a new device generation is introduced, transistor models
have to be generated so that automation of the modeling process is desirable. Automation
takes place in the form of dedicated modeling tools and should include one or more of the
following features:
2 Data Management – Large-scale measurement series need to be managed.
⊲ From the measurement sets, statistically meaningful parameters need to be ex-
tracted.
⊲ Additional data describing the actual measurements must accompany the measure-
ment data in order to facilitate backtracking of measurement data and extraction
results. This kind of data includes e.g. the name of the sample from which mea-
surements were taken, geometrical dimensions of the devices, date of measure-
ment, operator, etc.
2 Selection tools – The most appropriate modeling approaches for given output character-
istics need to be identified. This requires tools which aid in selecting the most suitable
model for given I
D
-V
GS
characteristics. For example, the V
Sat
method (which will be
presented in Chapter 4) can assist in selecting appropriate model types by plotting the
V
GS
dependence of the principal parameters K
P
, V
T
, and λ.
2 Availability of different modeling approaches – Modeling tools should provide different
approaches for modeling so to allow users to try out different model types and extrac-
tion schemes. This can be handled by providing generic modeling interfaces where
3.4. Automation of Modeling 65
dedicated model generators can be linked in. These generators can e.g. contain sophis-
ticated graphical user interfaces or capabilities for data analysis.
2 Collaboration with Circuit Characterization Tools – The models are primarily used in
circuit simulation of reasonable circuits like logic gates. Therefore, it is desirable to
embed modeling tools in the circuit characterization environment. In this way, time-
consuming integration of model data into circuit simulations can be avoided.
3.4.1 Existing Tools
There are numerous tools for extracting parameters of transistor models. The degree of au-
tomation in these tools ranges from providing an input mask where graphical the extraction of
the parameters can be done by the users to fully automated extraction procedures.
General-purpose extractors like the commercial tool Synopsys Aurora [88] consist of a
configurable solver and provide a script-based computation engine as well as a graphical user
interface. In the case of Aurora, parameters are extracted by curve fitting with a Levenberg-
Marquardt solver using constraints. The tool allows the users to carry out the extraction in
a series of steps. In each step, a set of parameters to optimize and default values for other
parameters can be defined. Setups like the following are possible: A coarse version of the
threshold voltage V
T
is extracted in the first extraction step using I
D
−V
GS
measurements and
a sensible range for V
T
. In the next step, the device mobility is extracted. Finally, a general
fit uses previously extracted parameter values as starting points and centers the parameters at
the minimum error between model output and measured curves. Tools like Aurora do not pro-
vide data-management capabilities or direct links to circuit characterization tools. Moreover,
appropriate models have to be selected by inspecting the error between modeling results and
original data.
Some SPICE simulators (e.g. Synopsys Star-Hspice [26] or Tanner T-Spice [68]) include
configurable optimizers which can be used for fitting the curves. These optimizers are con-
trolled by use of special statements in the textual netlists. Tools like Cadence/OrCAD PSpice
[89] or Synopsys SaberDeveloper include graphical front-ends which can be used for a graph-
ical fit of the curves. The simulators are directly linked to circuit characterization tools and
carry out the actual simulations needed in the characterization process. However, they do not
provide data management or convenient selection of appropriate models.
More specialized extractor tools like AIM-EXTRACT [90] provide graphical user inter-
faces and external fit programs for dedicated models. These external fit programs are con-
figured with text files containing references to the required measurement data and parameter
setups. In AIM-EXTRACT, the parameters are extracted by an undisclosed multi-step plan.
The drawback of the extraction plan is that the fitting results depend on the input parameters.
66 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
Experiments done by the author of this work revealed that e.g. the initially given thresh-
old voltage is used in calculations within subsequent parameter extractions inside the model
extractor for Psi-TFT devices. The tool is highly specialized because it can only extract pa-
rameters of certain models. Moreover, it does not provide data management or assistance in
selecting appropriate models.
The commercial package Agilent IC-CAP [91] provides a framework for model extrac-
tion. The tool centers on the management of device and circuit characteristics and provides
modeling, management as well as control of measurement instruments, and simulation facili-
ties. All processes can be automated using a built-in control language. Modeling complexity
ranges from the extraction of parameters of primitive models to models described by SPICE
netlists. IC-CAP collaborates with external simulators in order to test the accuracy of ex-
tracted model parameters or to characterize a circuit using circuit simulations. The simulators
are integrated via an open simulator interface. IC-CAP already includes a large set of models
and specialized extraction procedures for the derivation of their parameters.
3.4.2 Discussion
In summary, tools for circuit-level transistor modeling are either very general or specialize on
certain models. The general tools can be configured very flexibly but specialized modeling
tools provide more convenient extraction schemes. With the exception of IC-CAP, none of the
above-mentioned tools provides the analysis capabilities needed for the extraction schemes
presented in Section 3.3. Conversely, the commercial tool IC-CAP provides both very gen-
eral and highly specialized extraction schemes in one software package. However, all tools
investigated in this section lack the treatment of dedicated OFET models or sophisticated data
management.
3.5 Chapter Summary
The following aspects of OFET modeling were discussed in this chapter:
2 Different charge-transport mechanisms in OFETs are currently under debate. Many
issues need to be resolved in order to fully understand the inner workings of organic
transistors. Modeling is complicated by the fact that different OFET technologies exist,
where the availability of many materials and manufacturing methods leads to various
effects which have to be accounted for.
2 Owing to the early stage in the process of understanding charge transport in organic
semiconductors, many modeling approaches for OFETs are based on well-known mod-
els derived for more traditional semiconductor technologies like crystalline silicon or
3.5. Chapter Summary 67
thin-film transistors. Other models sacrifice a physical basis in favor of accurate mod-
eling, e.g. for simulation of analog circuits. One model with a true OFET-related phys-
ical basis is the model of variable range hopping (VRH). Modeling of capacitances and
stress effects is also still in the beginning. Only one model presented in this chapter
honors stress effects by introducing an RC network in order to introduce hysteresis in
the switching behavior of transistors.
2 The model quality chart (MQC) was defined in this chapter in order to allow ratings and
comparisons of the various models with respect to accuracy, modeling of capacitances,
compactness, parameter extraction and stress effects. OFET models were then analyzed
by use of MQC tables. Table 3.12 lists the results obtained by the discussion of these
models.
Table 3.12: MQC values for models presented in this work.
Requirement Level-1 Psi-TFT a-Si TFT VRH Table Dresden
& contacts
Accuracy bad to good good good good good
medium
Capacitance – – – good good –
modeling
Compactness good good good good bad bad
Parameter good medium bad medium not medium
extraction needed
Stress Effects – – – – – medium
2 Accuracy in Table 3.12 has been rated according to the data sets used for developing the
respective models. As will be shown in Section 4.3.5 and Section 4.3.6, models have
their peculiar shortcomings when dealing with different device technologies. Therefore,
it is not possible to select one modeling approach equally useful for all types of devices.
Extraction methods are normally centered on finding the best-fitting parameters for a
given set of parameters and a given model. Whether the model matches the data can
only be seen at the end of the extraction procedure. From the user’s point of view, it
would be desirable to have this information before any lengthy extractions are carried
out. In this respect, the traditional question which set of parameters best maps measured
curves for a given model translates into the question which model potentially maps the
given curves.
68 Chapter 3. OFET Modeling for Circuit Simulation
2 There exist many tools and measurement procedures for deriving parameters of popular
models. However, these tools require skilled users and appropriate data sets. In order to
provide maximum use, a generic framework for analyzing the performance of OFETs
in logic circuits should assist users in the derivation of appropriate model sets. Here,
features like data management, selection of best-fitting models, implementation of user-
friendly fitting approaches, and collaboration with the circuit characterization part of the
framework are important. Existing extraction tools do not provide these characteristics.
The issues of extracting reasonable threshold voltages and selecting proper models will
be addressed in the following chapter, where a novel modeling and analysis tool named V
Sat
method is discussed. Chapter 6 then contains a description of a computerized methodology
for flexible transistor modeling and characterization of OFET-based logic circuits.
69
Chapter 4
V
Sat
Method
In this chapter, a novel approach to extracting model parameters of transistors is detailed. The
method is based on two observations made by the author of this work.
The first observation is that most models presented in Section 3.2 are variations of the
Level-1 model. In these models, constant parameters are replaced by variable parameters,
which e.g. depend on the gate-source voltage. The idea of the novel extraction method is to
decompose a measured set of output characteristics I
D
vs. V
DS
into individual output curves,
one for each given V
GS
value. The basic parameters V
T
, K
P
, and λ of the Level-1 model are
then calculated for each of these curves. By plotting the extracted parameters vs. V
GS
, the
best-fitting model type can be identified because the different models have characteristic V
GS
dependences of their parameters.
The second observation is that the three-dimensional problem of extracting the basic pa-
rameters V
T
, K
P
, and λ for a single output characteristic can be reduced to a one-dimensional
problem of finding V
T
and calculating K
P
and λ from it. V
T
can be determined by searching
the transition point between the linear and the saturation region, i.e. the saturation voltage
V
Sat
, and calculating V
T
from the relationship V
Sat
= V
GS
−V
T
. Owing to the role of V
Sat
in
the extraction process, the extraction method has been named V
Sat
method.
The extraction procedure and its application in transistor modeling are detailed in the
following sections. First, the extraction scheme is described. Then, two transistor models are
presented which directly integrate the V
Sat
method. Finally, experimental results showing the
application of the extraction procedure and novel modeling techniques are discussed.
70 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
4.1 Extraction based on V
Sat
Method
Automatic extraction of model parameters with the V
Sat
method is based on the following
assumptions:
2 The model parameters depend on V
GS
.
2 Individual I
D
vs. V
DS
curves with constant V
GS
can be covered by Level-1 modeling
from (3.1) to (3.3).
2 Appropriate models for given characteristics can be found by plotting the basic Level-1
parameters K
P
, V
T
, and λ vs. V
GS
The V
Sat
method relies on the determination of the saturation voltage V
Sat
, i.e. the drain-
source voltage of an I
D
vs. V
DS
curve where the transition from the linear to the saturation
region takes place. V
Sat
can be determined by varying a guess of it in the available V
DS
range,
calculating V
T
, K
P
, an λ from the guessed V
Sat
, and observing the mean-square error between
the resulting Level-1 model and the measurement data or by employing a one-dimensional
optimization routine.
The values necessary for calculating the model parameters are shown in Fig. 4.1. They
are obtained as follows: From V
Sat
and the respective drain current I
Dsat
, the maximum drain
voltage V
DMax
and the respective drain current I
DMax
, the parameters K
P
and λ can be de-
rived using the following equations.
V
T
= V
GS
−V
Sat
, (4.1)
f =

I
DMax
−I
DSat
V
DMax
−V
Sat

, (4.2)
|I
DS0
| = |I
DSat
| −f · |V
Sat
|, (4.3)
K
P
= 2|I
DS0
|/V
2
Sat
, (4.4)
λ =
f
|I
DS0
|
. (4.5)
Here, f is the slope of I
D
between V
Sat
and V
DMax
, all other parameters have their usual
meaning. Absolute values are used so that positive values are guaranteed for both n-type and
p-type transistors. f can be calculated from the I
D
values at V
DMax
and V
Sat
. Alternatively,
f can also be derived by calculating the linear regression of the I
D
points between V
Sat
and
V
DMax
. The latter procedure is more robust against measurement noise as more points are used
in the calculation of the slope. I
DS0
is the drain current in the saturation region with λ = 0.
It can be used to calculate K
P
by exploiting the relationship I
DS0
=
1
2
W
L
K
P
V
2
Sat
. λ can be
4.1. Extraction based on V
Sat
Method 71
derived from I
DMax
−I
DSat
=
1
2
W
L
K
P
V
2
Sat
· λ · (V
DMax
−V
Sat
) which leads to f = λ· I
DS0
.
V
Sat
I
DS0
I
DSat
slope f
I

D
I
D
V
DS
I
DMax
V
DMax
Fig. 4.1: Important points on the I
D
vs. V
DS
curve for calculating model parameters according
to the V
Sat
method. The dashed curve I

D
denotes the drain current for λ = 0. V
GS
is constant
for the curve.
Fig. 4.2 shows a plot of the mean-square error vs. the guessed saturation voltage V
Sat
of two different simulations
1
. In the underlying experiment, drain currents were simulated
with a V
DS
increment of 0.1 V and 1.0 V. Then, V
Sat
was guessed by varying the unknown
value between 3 V and 10 V with a step size of 0.1 V. The mean-square error was calculated
according to
¯ ε =
1
n
n
¸
i
[I
D,m
(V
DS,i
) −I
D,s
(V
DS,i
, V
Sat
)]
2
. (4.6)
Here, n is the total amount of measured points, I
D,m
is the measured or interpolated drain
current (index m for “measured”). I
D,s
is the drain current according to the Level-1 model
and the parameters extracted with the V
Sat
method (index s for “simulated”).
Both curves show minima at V
Sat
≈ 8.4 V. The curve labeled “original data with V
DS
increment of 0.1 V” is smoother. The other curve has local minima which can cause an
optimizer to get stuck at these points (e.g. V
Sat
= 6 V). The plot also shows that the resulting
parameter accuracy depends on the sampling density of the measured I
D
points. Moreover,
the presence of local minima complicates the application of many numerical optimization
methods. However, the optimal solution can be found by the above-mentioned procedure of
varying V
Sat
in a fixed interval in steps of e.g. 0.1 V and selecting the V
Sat
value for the
minimum mean-square error ¯ ε.
1
Level-1 model, simulation data: β=10 nA/V
2
, V
T
= −6.4 V, λ = 0.01 1/V, V
GS
= 2 V.
72 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
0.0
0.5
1.0
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4.0
1.5
guessed V
sat
[V]
× 10
−15
¯ε
[
A
2
]
original data with V
DS
increment of 1.0 V
original data with V
DS
increment of 0.1 V
Fig. 4.2: Dependence of the modeling error on the measurement grid.
The reader is referred to Section 4.3 for a demonstration of the V
Sat
method with measured
output characteristics.
Discussion
The V
Sat
method approaches modeling in a mixture of fitting and analytical methods. First,
the threshold voltage V
T
is derived by a numerical extraction of the saturation point of an I
D
vs. V
DS
plot. Then, the other parameters K
P
and λ are analytically calculated from V
T
. This
approach reduces the three-dimensional fitting problem to a one-dimensional search which
can be carried out fully automatically.
Application of the V
Sat
method entails using the whole range of drain-source voltages
V
DS
. Therefore, effects introduced by series resistances affect the extracted parameters, e.g.
reduce effective voltages due to voltage drops across the series resistors. Existing methods
of extracting V
T
therefore often resort to I
D
vs. V
GS
curves with small drain-source voltages
V
DS
below 1 V.
The V
Sat
method generates intermediate parameters used to identify appropriate modeling
approaches. For example, the Level-1 model yields parameters which are independent of
V
GS
while the threshold voltage V
T
in the Psi-TFT model linearly depends on V
GS
and on
a conductance factor K
P
with a power-law dependence (see Section 4.3.2 for more details).
By plotting them against V
GS
, the parameters aid in the selection of appropriate modeling
approaches because the parameter curves in the individual models have characteristic shapes
4.2. Modeling based on V
Sat
Method 73
with respect to V
GS
.
4.2 Modeling based on V
Sat
Method
The V
Sat
method can be used as the first step of a two-step extraction procedure similar to the
intermediate model approach developed by Kondo and co-workers to extract parameters of
MOSFET transistors [92].
In the intermediate model approach, model parameters are extracted by a two-step con-
cept. In the first step, intermediate parameters are extracted from measured I-V data. In
a second step, these intermediate parameters are transformed into parameters of the target
model. Splitting the extraction process into two steps allows device-independent extraction
routines for the intermediate parameters. Mapping the intermediate parameters to the parame-
ters of the target model is then device-dependent. Kondo and colleagues emphasize that once
an acceptably accurate intermediate model has been established, model designers only need
to derive a mapping procedure for the parameters of the target model.
The original approach by Kondo and colleagues is used to extract one set of parameters
for a complete set of output characteristics. It works with the subthreshold and linear region.
Conversely, the V
Sat
method is used to derive distinct sets of Level-1 parameters for individual
above-threshold curves of I
D
vs. V
DS
measured at constant V
GS
values. The distinct parameter
sets are then related to extract a common parameter set for all measured V
DS
and V
GS
values.
In the following, two modeling approaches based on data derived by the V
Sat
method will
be discussed: a table-based model and an analytical model called Linvar model. The latter
model utilizes the concept of intermediate parameters.
4.2.1 V
Sat
-Type Table-Based Model
The V
GS
-dependent parameters V
T
, K
P
, and λ can be directly recorded in a table generated
by the V
Sat
method. During circuit simulation, the model parameters are then taken from this
table or are interpolated / extrapolated from existing values. A table model has been written
in this work in XSPICE [93]. The reader is referred to Section 6.3 for a demonstration of
its application. This type of model is easy to implement and does not require sophisticated
compression equations like the model in [31]. Moreover, the parameter table does not store
measurement values like other modeling approaches do. Instead, the V
GS
-dependent param-
eters of the Level-1 model are tabulated vs. the gate-source voltage. With this approach,
parameters of the model can be changed without the need to store a new set of output char-
acteristics for the table model. On the other hand, the table model only works correctly if the
individual I/V curves can be approximated by Level-1 modeling. This is not possible when
74 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
e.g. diode-like contact effects are present.
Discussion
Table 4.1 provides ratings for the table-based model with respect to the model quality chart
presented in Section 3.1. Accuracy was rated as good because the model can map output
characteristics when the individual curves are Level-1-shaped. Modeling of transistor capac-
itances or stress effects is not included. Compactness has been rated as bad because many
values are needed. In the parameter extraction, only the V
Sat
method is necessary. Therefore,
the parameter extraction has been rated as good.
Table 4.1: MQC for V
Sat
-type table-based model.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy good
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness bad
Parameter Extraction good
Stress Effects not included
4.2.2 Linvar Model
The V
GS
-dependence of the extracted parameters can be approximated by analytical equa-
tions. The Linvar model has been developed in this work to provide such a relationship. The
model parameters are assumed to be variables linearly depending on V
GS
. Hence the name
Linvar model is used. Other dependences (polynomial, exponential) were analyzed in [94],
but these functions add more parameters and therefore reduce the compactness of the model.
Experimental studies on OFETs based on poly-(3-hexyl)thiophene (P3HT) (see Section 4.3.2)
showed that a linear dependence represents a good compromise between compactness (num-
ber of parameters) and accuracy (mean-square error with respect to measurements) of the
model.
Model Equations
In the Linvar model, the V
GS
-dependent parameter sets are mapped to the following functions:
4.2. Modeling based on V
Sat
Method 75
K
P
(V
GS
) = KP
0
+ f
k
· V
GS
, (4.7)
V
T
(V
GS
) = V
T0
+ f
T
· V
GS
, (4.8)
λ(V
GS
) = λ
0
+ f
λ
· V
GS
. (4.9)
Assuming n-type devices for the discussion, the equations of the Linvar model are:
1. Cutoff region with V
GS
< V
T
:
I
D
= 0. (4.10)
2. Linear region with 0 < V
DS
< V
GS
−V
T
(V
GS
):
I
D
= K
P
(V
GS
) ·
W
L

V
GS
−V
T
(V
GS
) −
V
DS
2

V
DS
· [1 +λ(V
GS
)V
DS
]. (4.11)
3. Saturation region with 0 V < V
GS
−V
T
(V
GS
) < V
DS
:
I
D
=
1
2
K
P
(V
GS
) ·
W
L
[V
GS
−V
T
(V
GS
)]
2
· [1 +λ(V
GS
)V
DS
]. (4.12)
In order to map the existence of a subthreshold or bulk current, a resistor R
par
parallel
to the transistor channel is added between source and drain. The resistance value can be
determined using the difference between a measured I
D
point for zero V
GS
and the model
prediction without R
par
. The resistor can be normalized to a width-independent contribution
using
R

par
= R
par
· W
ref
, (4.13)
where W
ref
is the width of the modeled device. The drain-source current then becomes
I
DS
= I
D
+ V
DS
· R

par
/W. (4.14)
Discussion
The main advantage of the Linvar model is its simplified parameter extraction scheme. The
procedure is especially suitable for automatic extraction. On the other hand, the Linvar model
simply represents a fitting model. Therefore, the parameters do not directly reflect process or
material properties. The model is restricted to devices where the parameters show linear de-
pendence on V
GS
. The extraction scheme does not take contact resistances at drain and source
into account. These elements have to be derived beforehand in order to extract meaningful
values for K
P
, λ and V
T
.
76 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
In Table 4.2, a rating of the Linvar model with respect to the model quality chart pre-
sented in Section 3.1 is shown. Accuracy was rated as medium as the model only matches
a restricted set of device structures. In particular, only devices with linear V
GS
-dependence
of the parameters are mapped. Capacitance modeling or stress effects are not included in the
modeling. Although the model relies only on a small set of parameters, compactness was
rated as medium because these parameters are only fitting parameters. On the other hand, pa-
rameter extraction is rated as good because easy-to-use fitting parameters are used. Owing to
the application of the V
Sat
method, no starting values are needed for the parameters to extract
and the extraction process is reduced to a one-dimensional search.
Table 4.2: MQC for Linvar model.
Requirement Rating
Accuracy medium
Capacitance Modeling not included
Compactness medium
Parameter Extraction good
Stress Effects not included
4.3 Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting
In the following, experimental results on the analysis of transistor parameters with the V
Sat
method are presented. First, the characteristic behavior of commonly used transistor models
will be explored. Then, the effect of constant contact resistance is treated. A method is
demonstrated how these parasitic elements can be compensated for in the analysis. Finally,
the application of the Linvar model on measurement curves is presented.
4.3.1 Analysis of a Level-1 Transistor
The V
Sat
method is based on the Level-1 model (see Section 3.2.1) which provides simple
equations to predict the behavior of transistors. In the V
Sat
method, the saturation voltages
of individual I
D
-V
DS
curves are extracted. Subsequently, all extracted saturation voltages are
plotted versus their respective V
GS
values. In the case of a Level-1 transistor, a line with unity
slope can be expected because V
Sat
= V
GS
− V
T
. From V
Sat
, the threshold voltage V
T
can
readily be extracted and the other Level-1 parameters are calculated using (4.2) through (4.5).
Fig. 4.3 shows the output characteristics of a Level-1 transistor
2
, the extracted saturation
voltage V
Sat
as well as the derived parameters process conductance K
P
and channel-length
2
Original model data: p-type transistor, V
T
=3 V, K
P
=10 pA/V
2
, λ= 10 mV
−1
.
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 77
modulation λ. The threshold voltage has not explicitly been plotted because it can be derived
from the saturation voltage V
Sat
. As expected, the saturation voltage V
Sat
has a slope of one
and intersects the zero V
GS
point at −V
T
. K
P
and λ are independent of the gate-source bias
and coincide with the given model parameters.
The example shows that the V
Sat
method can well extract a true Level-1 transistor. How-
ever, the extractor needs enough points between the supposed saturation voltage and the maxi-
mum|V
DS
| in order to safely detect the linear I
DS
line of the saturation curve. To demonstrate
this requirement, the above transistor is analyzed with the V
GS
values ranging from 0 to -20 V
in steps of 2 V and V
DS
also ranging from 0 to -20 V only, but in steps of 1 V. Fig. 4.4 shows
the resulting plot for the V
Sat
curve, the Linvar-model approximation for the parameters K
P
,
V
T
and λ. At |V
DS
| > 15 V, the curves start to considerably deviate from the expected be-
havior. The data shows that the V
Sat
prediction gets inaccurate for V
GS
values approaching
-20 V.
4.3.2 Analysis of Model for Polycrystalline TFTs
The TFT model for polycrystalline silicon (Psi-TFT, see Section 3.2.2) is a semi-empirical
model with a physical background [41]. It effectively extends the Level-1 model by adding
a V
GS
-dependent mobility and a factor for the variation of the saturation voltage (α
sat
). The
output characteristics as well as extracted curves for a simulated polycrystalline thin-film
transistor
3
are depicted in Fig. 4.5.
Level-1 parameters derived from the extracted curves do not directly correspond to the
model parameters of the Psi-TFT model. This is due to the modifications of the model with
respect to the original Level-1 model (see Section 3.2.2). In the Psi-TFT model, the satu-
ration voltage is calculated by V
Sat
= α
sat
(V
GS
− V
T
). Therefore, the slope of the curve in
Fig. 4.5b can be used to derive α
sat
≈ 1.7. From this slope, the threshold voltage is derived
by V
T
= −V
Sat
(V
GS
= 0 V)/α
sat
= 1 V.
With V
T
and α
sat
established, the power factor m
µ
for the mobility can be estimated by
plotting log I
D
vs. log (V
GS
− V
T
) for a fixed V
DS
in the saturation region. The slope of the
log-log curve corresponds to 2 + m
µ
owing to I
D
∼ (V
GS
− V
T
)
2+mµ
. Fig. 4.5f depicts the
log-log curve. This approach leads to a slope of 3.2, which coincides with 2 + m
µ
. Finally,
µ
0
can be obtained by inserting a measured current value into the model equation and solving
for µ
0
. The V
GS
-dependence of K
P
in Fig. 4.5c can be used for qualitative examinations. In
the figure, K
P
displays weakly super-linear behavior which suggests a power factor m
µ
> 1.
Fig. 4.5d shows λ, the parameter for the channel-length modulation. The deviation from
3
Model data: µ
0
= 1·10
−3
cm
2
/Vs, C
is
= 1 · 10
−7
F/cm
2
, V
T
= 1 V, α
sat
= 1.7, m
µ
= 1.2,
µ
s
= 1 · 10
−11
cm
2
/Vs, η
i
= 3.34, I
0
= 1 · 10
−13
A, W/L = 1000
78 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
a)
−30 −25 −20 −15 −10 −5 0
6.0p
8.0p
10.0p
12.0p
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
b)
5.0m
6.0m
7.0m
8.0m
9.0m
10.0m
11.0m
12.0m
13.0m
14.0m
15.0m
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
−25
−20
−15
−10
−5
0
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
−1.0u
−1.5u
−2.0u
−2.5u
−3.0u
−3.5u
saturation curve
−0.5u
0.0
14.0p
d) c)
V
DS
[V]
V
GS
=-20 V
V
GS
=-18 V
V
GS
=-16 V
V
GS
= 0 V
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
λ
[
V

1
]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
Fig. 4.3: Plot of important parameters of a Level-1 transistor with p-type behavior:
a) output characteristics, b) saturation voltage, c) process conductance, and d) channel-length
modulation.
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 79
a) b)
d) c)
−20
−18
−16
−14
−12
−10
−8
−6
−4
−2
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
9.5p
9.6p
9.7p
9.8p
9.9p
10.0p
10.1p
10.2p
10.3p
10.4p
10.5p
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
5.0m
6.0m
7.0m
8.0m
9.0m
10.0m
11.0m
12.0m
13.0m
14.0m
15.0m
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
V
GS
[V]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
λ
[
V

1
]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V] V
GS
[V]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
V
T
[
V
]
Fig. 4.4: V
Sat
-type extraction with an insufficient V
DS
range: a) extracted saturation volt-
age, b) derived process conductance, c) threshold voltage, and d) channel-length modulation.
Dashed lines show the expected curves.
80 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
a)
c)
e)
b)
d)
f)
−2.5m
−2.0m
−1.5m
−1.0m
0.0
−50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0
−0.5m
0.0
1.0n
1.5n
2.0n
2.5n
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
0.5n
0.0
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
0.0
5.0
10.0
15.0
20.0
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
−40.0
−35.0
−30.0
−25.0
−20.0
−15.0
−10.0
−5.0
0.0
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
V
DS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V] log(V
GS
−V
T
) –>
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
λ
[
V

1
]
l
o
g
(
I
D
)
[
]
V
T
[
V
]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
Fig. 4.5: Behavior of a polycrystalline thin-film transistor: a) output characteristics,
b) saturation voltage, c) process conductance, d) threshold voltage, e) channel-length mod-
ulation, and f) logarithmic drain current.
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 81
constant behavior near zero V
GS
can be attributed to the influence of the subthreshold current
according to (3.12).
The plots from Fig. 4.5 can be used to check whether the Psi-TFT model matches a mea-
sured device. If the log-log plot of I
D
vs. V
GS
−V
T
does not yield a straight line, the Psi-TFT
model does not correctly map the output characteristics of the respective device.
4.3.3 Effect of Contact Resistance on Level-1 Model
The ideal behavior of the Level-1 model can be weakened by the presence of contact resis-
tance at the interface between the source/drain electrodes and the channel region. Contact
resistance is often encountered e.g. in bottom-gate bottom-contact transistors where the elec-
trodes disturb the formation of the semiconductor film and trap states occur. These trap states
lead to diode-like contact resistance which can be difficult to model. Diode-like resistances
also occur when the work functions of the electrode material and the semiconductor in the
transistor channel are not aligned.
Constant resistors at the source and drain electrodes are more tractable form of contact
resistance. Their presence in a Level-1-type transistor has already been discussed briefly in
Section 3.3.1. At this point, their influence on extracted parameters will be analyzed. A device
model according to Fig. 4.6 will be assumed. R
DC
and R
SC
represent the drain-side and
source-side contact resistances while M maps the ideal Level-1 transistor. The V
Sat
extractor
treats M as a unit with R
DC
/ R
SC
and derives V
GS
-dependent Level-1 parameters for the
combined device. The extraction results are effective parameters that can be used to see how
contact resistance affects the output characteristics.
GATE
DRAIN
SOURCE
R
SC
R
DC
M
Fig. 4.6: Schematic of a transistor with contact resistances at drain and source.
In the analysis, R
DC
and R
SC
shall be varied independently and the ideal transistor M
shall have the same model parameters as in Section 4.3.1. Fig. 4.7 shows extraction results
82 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
for different R
DC
values. R
DC
alone (R
SC
= 0 Ω) strongly influences the saturation voltage
as can be seen from Fig. 4.7a. In the plot, the V
GS
-dependent saturation voltage is shown. The
data demonstrates that small values of R
DC
in the range of 100 kΩ do not noticeably affect
transistor behavior for the given device. However, higher R
DC
values shift the saturation point
to more negative values.
A V
Sat
-type parameter extraction shows that the drain-side resistor strongly influences
(viz. shifts) V
T
and K
P
. K
P
decreases with R
DC
. Consequently, increasing R
DC
also de-
creases the attainable current as demonstrated by Fig. 4.7d. The effect of R
DC
will also be
more pronounced for increasing |V
GS
| owing to the fact that the drain current also increases
as well as the voltage drop at R
DC
.
The source-side contact resistance (R
SC
) can also be varied with R
DC
being removed
(R
DC
= 0 Ω). In this case, the maximum drain current is affected while the saturation points
effectively keep unchanged as long as R
SC
does not get too large. At some resistance value,
R
SC
will start to dominate the I
D
-V
DS
curve. This can be seen from the graphs in Fig. 4.8.
In conclusion, a noticeable resistance at the drain contact will influence the saturation
voltage V
Sat
, the process conductance K
P
and on-currents. A noticeable resistance at the
source contact on the other hand will influence the process conductance K
P
, the channel-
length modulation λ and both the on/off current.
4.3.4 Compensation of Contact Resistance
The V
Sat
method only measures effective parameters. It does not separate the contributions of
contact resistors due to the nonlinear interaction between the transistor and R
DC
/R
SC
. These
resistances can be determined by a resistance measurement like the potential profiling (see
Section 3.3.1). If the approximate values are known they can be compensated for by placing
additional negative resistors (R
CD
and R
CS
) in series to the transistor during simulation as
shown in Fig. 4.9. At these points in the device setup, they neutralize the effect of the contact
resistances.
The presence of R
CD
and R
CS
leads to equal potentials at DRAIN and DP as well as
SOURCE and SP. In a computer simulation, the parameters of transistor M can now be ex-
tracted using the usual methods:
1. Obtain effective parameters or a table-based model of the transistor operating under the
influence of the contact resistances.
2. Derive the contact resistances by measurement.
3. Neutralize the contact resistance by a setup equivalent to Fig. 4.9. With this setup, the
drain-source voltage and gate-source voltage across transistor M are equivalent to the
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 83
a) b)
d)
c)
9.0m
9.5m
10.0m
10.5m
11.0m
−70.0
−60.0
−50.0
−40.0
−30.0
−20.0
−10.0
0.0
1.0p
2.0p
3.0p
4.0p
5.0p
6.0p
7.0p
8.0p
9.0p
10.0p
10.0n
1.0u
10.0u
0.0 2.0M 4.0M 6.0M 8.0M 10.0M 0.0 −5.0 −10.0 −15.0 −20.0
−20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
0.1u
1.0 MΩ
0.1 MΩ
R
DC
= 0.0 MΩ
2.0 MΩ
5.0 MΩ
10.0 MΩ
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
λ
[
V

1
]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
R
DC
[Ω] V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V] V
GS
[V]
I
D
[
A
]
Fig. 4.7: Behavior of important transistor parameters with respect to different values for the
drain-side contact resistance: a) saturation voltage, b) process conductance, c) channel-length
modulation, d) on/off current.
84 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
a)
b)
c) d)
2.0p
3.0p
4.0p
5.0p
6.0p
7.0p
8.0p
9.0p
10.0p
2.0m
3.0m
4.0m
5.0m
6.0m
7.0m
8.0m
9.0m
10.0m
11.0m
10.0n
0.1u
1.0u
10.0u
−30.0
−25.0
−20.0
−15.0
−10.0
−5.0
0.0
−20.0 −15.0 −5.0 0.0 −10.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
−20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 0.0 2.0M 4.0M 6.0M 8.0M 10.0M
10.0 MΩ
R
SC
= 0.0 MΩ
0.1 MΩ
1.0 MΩ
5.0 MΩ
2.0 MΩ
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
V
GS
[V] V
GS
[V]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
λ
[
V

1
]
V
GS
[V] R
SC
[Ω]
I
D
[
A
]
Fig. 4.8: Behavior of important transistor parameters with respect to different values of the
source-side contact resistance: a) saturation voltage, b) process conductance, c) channel-
length modulation, and d) on/off current.
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 85
DRAIN
GATE
DP
SP
SOURCE
M V
DS
R
DC
R
CD
= −R
DC
R
SC
R
CS
= −R
SC
V
GS
Fig. 4.9: Transistor with resistors neutralizing the contact resistances.
voltage drop between the terminals DRAIN and SOURCE and GATE and SOURCE,
respectively.
Results of the procedure are demonstrated in Fig. 4.10. The figure depicts extracted curves
vs. V
GS
for a device simulated with R
SC
= 2 MΩ, no R
DC
, and various compensation resistors.
The method of resistance compensation can also be used to determine the contact resis-
tances R
SC
and R
DC
. The approach exploits the fact that the channel-length modulation λ
is mainly affected by R
SC
and the saturation voltage V
Sat
only by R
DC
. By exploiting these
relationships, R
DC
can be determined by bringing V
Sat
to a straight line through varying R
CD
and R
SC
by bringing λ to a straight line through varying R
CS
.
86 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
a)
c) d)
b)
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
25.0m
30.0m
−25.0
−20.0
−15.0
−10.0
−5.0
0.0
6.0p
7.0p
8.0p
9.0p
10.0p
11.0p
12.0p
13.0p
14.0p
15.0p
10.0n
1.0u
10.0u
−20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
−20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 0.0 0.5M 1.0M 1.5M 2.0M 2.5M 3.0M
0.1u
R
SC
= 2 MΩ
R
SC
= 2 MΩ
R
SC
= 2 MΩ
R
SC
= 2 MΩ
3.0 MΩ
2.0 MΩ
1.0 MΩ
0.1 MΩ
R
CS
= 0.0 MΩ
λ
[
V

1
]
V
GS
[V] V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
R
SC
[Ω]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
I
D
[
A
]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
Fig. 4.10: Behavior of important transistor parameters with respect to different values of
the source-side compensation resistance: a) saturation voltage, b) process conductance,
c) channel-length modulation, and d) on/off current. The contact resistance at the source
electrode is R
SC
= 2 MΩ.
4.3. Experimental Results on Transistor Fitting 87
4.3.5 Analysis of a PDHTT Transistor
Fig. 4.11 shows the I
D
−V
DS
curve of a poly(3,3”-dihexyl-2,2’:5’,2”-terthiophene) (PDHTT)
transistor and the parameters extracted by the V
Sat
method. I/V data was taken from [95]. The
device has a channel width of 10,000 µm and a channel length of 10 µm.
The resulting curves show that the saturation voltage decreases linearly between gate volt-
ages of -4 V and -24 V. At gate voltages below -24 V, V
Sat
begins to saturate. This behavior
can be attributed to |V
GS
| approaching max. |V
DS
|, a voltage region where the V
Sat
method is
no longer reliable (see Section 4.3.1). The process conductance K
P
sharply increases between
gate voltages of 0 and -5.0 V and then slowly degenerates. At gate-source voltages below -24
V, it starts to rise again. This latter rise might also be due to the difficulties in extracting
the correct saturation voltages at these V
GS
ranges. The decline of K
P
between gate-source
voltages of -6 V and -24 V might be due to the presence of source-side contact resistance.
Moreover, the shape of V
Sat
and K
P
implies that Psi-TFT or Linvar modeling is not neces-
sary for the transistor. Instead, the V
GS
-dependent development of the parameters indicates a
Level-1 model including contact resistances. However, for gate-source voltages above -5 V,
the Level-1 model will fail and produce current values far in excess of the measured values
because a Level-1 model would not map the decline of the process conductance parameter
K
P
between -5 V and 0 V. When using a source-side compensation resistor of R
CS
= -400
kΩ, K
P
can be stabilized to 21 pA/V
2
for V
GS
< -10 V with V
T
= -0.7 V, λ = 0.001 V
−1
. The
compensation resistor indicates a source-side contact resistance of R
SC
= −R
CS
= 400 kΩ. It
should be noted that such a Level-1 model including a source-side resistor will nonetheless
fail to match device behavior for |V
GS
| < 5 V.
4.3.6 Modeling of a P3HT Transistor
In this section, the drain current of a P3HT transistor is analyzed using the V
Sat
method and
modeled with the Linvar approach. The device characteristics were obtained from activities
within the research project POLITAG
4
. The results of the measurements, extractions, and
approximations with the Linvar model are shown in Fig. 4.12. Solid lines mark measured
I/V curves or parameters extracted with the V
Sat
method. Dashed lines and/or cross markers
indicate approximations with the Linvar model. The plots show that the Linvar model sup-
plies a reasonably good fit. Model parameters in the Linvar model were KP
0
= 8 pA/V
2
,
f
k
= -2 pA/V
3
, V
T0
= 2.4 V, f
T
= 0.2 V, λ
0
= 5 mV
−1
, f
λ
= 0 V
−2
. In order to better ap-
proximate the drain current at zero gate-source voltage, a normalized parallel resistor with
4
The devices were fabricated in top-gate structure by lithographic structuring of gold electrodes. Spin-coating
was used to deposit the semiconductor. Detailed specifications of the fabrication process were not provided by
the device manufacturer, a commercial source participating in the research project POLITAG. This project was
funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under the ID 01BI150.
88 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
b)
d)
a)
c)
−6.0u
−5.0u
−4.0u
−3.0u
−2.0u
−1.0u
1.0u
0.0u
0.0
5.0p
10.0p
15.0p
20.0p
−25.0
−20.0
−15.0
−10.0
−5.0
0.0
0.05
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
0.15
0.10
−30.0 −25.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
0.00
−7.0u
25.0p
−20.0 −25.0 −30.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −30.0 −25.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
-30.0 V
-27.5 V
-25.0 V
V
GS
= 0.0 V
-22.5 V
-20.0 V
-17.5 V
-15.0 V
-12.5 V
-10.0 V
V
GS
[V]
V
GS
[V]
V
DS
[V] V
GS
[V]
λ
[
V

1
]
I
D
[
A
]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
Fig. 4.11: Extraction of relevant parameters for a PDHTT transistor with channel width
W = 10 mm and channel length L = 10 µm: a) output characteristics (taken from [95]), b)
saturation voltage, c) process conductance, and d) channel-length modulation.
4.4. Chapter Summary 89
R

par
= 10 TΩm was introduced between source and drain of the transistor (effective value
R
par
= 1.67 GΩ). This parallel resistor can be attributed e.g. to bulk conductance of the de-
vice.
Alternatively, the device can be approximated using the Psi-TFT model. When apply-
ing the procedure described in Section 4.3.2, the following model set is obtained by calcu-
lations: C
is
= 1 · 10
−7
F/cm
2
, µ
1
= 2.5 · 10
−5
cm
2
/Vs, V
T
= 2.9 V, α
sat
= 0.8, m
µ
= 0.886,
λ = 0.005 V
−1
. Here, C
is
and µ
0
are arbitrarily interchangeable
5
. Apart from subthreshold
behavior, which has been neglected in this example, the parameter set for the Psi-TFT model
shows good agreement with the experimental data (not depicted in Fig. 4.12a). Here, the Psi-
TFT model performs even better than the Linvar model. This better agreement is at the cost
of a more challenging extraction procedure, however.
4.3.7 Conclusions
Section 4.3 deals with the modeling of organic transistors. The analysis is based on the V
Sat
and Linvar methods of parameter extraction. In principle, the V
Sat
method indicates appro-
priate models for a particular device by showing the linearity and slope of the V
GS
-dependent
parameters.
The findings in Section 4.3.5 and Section 4.3.6 show that different transistors can consid-
erably differ in behavior. Therefore, it is difficult to find model equations which are suitable
for a wider range of transistors. The dependence of model parameters could be approximated
by fitting polynomials. This technique was analyzed in [94] but polynomials still fail to cor-
rectly map the K
P
behavior presented in Section 4.3.5. Moreover, mere fitting polynomials
do not comply with the requirement of compact device models derived in Section 3.1 because
numerous and obscure fitting parameters are introduced. The Linvar model is also a fitting
model but uses only as few parameters as possible.
4.4 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, a methodology for extracting parameters of transistor models in a two-step
approach was described. In a first step, the saturation voltage of individual output charac-
teristics I
D
vs. V
DS
at fixed V
GS
values are extracted by a one-dimensional search routine.
The methodology is centered on the derivation of the saturation voltage. Hence, it is called
V
Sat
method. Once V
Sat
has been obtained, Level-1 parameters are calculated analytically for
the individual output characteristics. The advantage of this approach is that no user interac-
5
Due to the fact that information on the relative permittivity and insulator thickness of the device was not
available, the default value has been chosen for C
is
.
90 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
a) b)
c) d)
extraction
approximation
extraction
approximation
extraction
approximation
extraction
approximation
0.0
5.0p
10.0p
15.0p
20.0p
25.0p
30.0p
35.0p
40.0p
45.0p
50.0p
55.0p
−6.0u
−5.0u
−4.0u
−3.0u
−2.0u
−1.0u
0.0
1.0u
approximation
measurement
−20.0
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
−4.0
−2.0
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
25.0m
30.0m
35.0m
40.0m
−30.0 −25.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0
−20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0 0.0 −20.0 −15.0 −10.0 −5.0
0.0
V
GS
= 0 V
V
GS
= -4 V
V
GS
= -8 V
V
GS
= -12 V
V
GS
= -16 V
V
GS
= -20 V
I
D
[
A
]
λ
[
V

1
]
V
GS
[V] V
DS
[V]
V
GS
[V] V
GS
[V]
K
P
[
A
/
V
2
]
V
S
a
t
[
V
]
Fig. 4.12: Extraction of relevant parameters for a P3HT transistor with channel width
W = 6 mm and channel length L = 10 µm: a) output characteristics, b) saturation voltage,
c) process conductance, and d) channel-length modulation. Measured and extracted data are
shown by solid lines, approximations by the Linvar model are shown by dashed lines and/or
cross markers.
4.4. Chapter Summary 91
tion is necessary regarding initial values or parameter bounds for the parameter extraction.
Therefore, the method can be carried out fully automatically.
By observing the V
GS
-dependent shapes of the basic Level-1 parameters, viable modeling
approaches (e.g. Psi-TFT, Level-1 modeling, etc.) can be identified and the respective models
can be applied in the second step. Currently, the only models directly using all of the interme-
diate Level-1 parameters are a V
Sat
-type table model and the Linvar model, both presented in
this chapter. V
Sat
-based analysis of more complex models like the Psi-TFT model currently
only uses a small fraction (viz. V
T
) of the intermediate parameters in the derivation of their
own parameter values. In future work, mapping of the full range of intermediate parameters
to selected transistor models could be elaborated.
In conclusion, the V
Sat
method can contribute to modeling by providing a fully automated
way of deriving intermediate parameters which can be used a) to select feasible transistor
models for measured output characteristics, and b) to refine these intermediate parameters
into parameters for more complex models.
92 Chapter 4. V
Sat
Method
93
Chapter 5
Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
In this chapter, standard procedures used for characterizing OFET-based logic circuits will
be presented. First, commonly-used circuit concepts realizing OFET-based logic gates will
be discussed. Then, methods of assessing robustness and timing-related performance figures
of logic gates are detailed. Subsequently, existing tools for characterizing logic circuits are
reviewed. The discussion aims at identifying useful performance figures which quantify the
performance of certain OFET generations or circuit technologies as well as requirements of
circuit analysis on an integrated analysis framework.
5.1 Logic Circuits
Logic gates are the principal building blocks of logic circuits. They can be considered as com-
binations of “switching elements” used for computing operations from the Boolean algebra.
5.1.1 Basic Circuit Concepts
The most basic logic gate in a logic family is the inverter. In OFET-based logic circuits,
it is commonly represented in the form of a pull-down and a pull-up element switching the
inverter’s output to ground (GND) or to the supply voltage (V
DD
) via a low-resistance path.
Fig. 5.1 shows the schematics of commonly-used configurations of inverters.
In circuits operating with only one type of semiconductor (either n-type or p-type) for
both the pull-up and the pull-down element, the input of the inverter is connected to an input
or driving transistor. This transistor can shortcut the output to GND if the proper voltage
is applied. The pull-up element is then realized by a load transistor where the gate is either
connected to its source or to its drain. If the gate is connected to the source, a fixed gate-source
voltage V
GS
= 0 V results. This configuration will only work if the transistor is switched
94 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
Q
A
a)
Q
A
b)
Q
A
e)
Q A
d)
Q A
c)
M
D
M
L
V
DD
M
D
M
L
V
DD
M
D
R
L
V
DD
M
PU
M
PD
V
DD
M
PU
M
PD
V
DD
Fig. 5.1: Basic configurations to implement an inverter: a) Load transistor (M
L
) in current-
source load configuration, b) load transistor (M
L
) in diode load configuration, c) comple-
mentary pull-up (M
PU
) and pull-down transistors (M
PD
), d) complementary-like ambipolar
transistors (M
PU
and M
PD
), and e) load resistor (R
L
) configuration.
on at a gate-source voltage of zero – a behavior referred to as normally-on or depletion-
mode in literature (e.g. [96, 97]). A normally-on transistor in this configuration yields an
approximately constant drain current as long as it operates in the saturation region. Hence, the
configuration of a load transistor with the gate connected to its source is referred to as current-
source load (CSL) configuration in this work following the definition of current-sourcing
load used by [98]. Fig. 5.2 shows the relationship between the output characteristics of the
transistors of a CSL-type inverter and its voltage transfer characteristic (VTC), which is the
plot of the output voltage vs. the input voltage. The numbered circles in both plots of the
figure denote corresponding operating points in the output characteristics and the VTC.
0
b)
load
transistor
driving
transistor
0
c)
output
input
a)
0
d
r
a
i
n

c
u
r
r
e
n
t

(
d
r
i
v
i
n
g

t
r
a
n
s
.
)
2
1
(load trans.)
drain current
output voltage
3
4 5
4
3
2
5
1
input voltage
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
V
DD
V
DD
V
DD
Fig. 5.2: Relationship between output characteristics and VTC of a CSL-type inverter:
a) schematic, b) output characteristics of driving and load transistor, and c) resulting voltage
transfer characteristics. The numbered points in b) and c) correspond.
5.1. Logic Circuits 95
If the gate of the load transistor is connected to the drain, a fixed gate-drain voltage
V
GD
= 0 V results. This configuration does not rely on a normally-on transistor and yields
an output characteristic similar to a diode for the pull-up transistor. Therefore, this configura-
tion will be referred to as diode load (DL) configuration in the following. OFET-based logic
gates in diode load configuration have been presented e.g. in [3].
Logic circuits in OFET technology usually employ load and input transistors of the same
semiconductor material. There are also reports on circuits using normally-off input and
normally-on load transistors fabricated in laboratory setups. Normally-off or enhancement-
mode means that the transistor is switched off at a gate-source voltage of zero. For example,
Lee and colleagues [99] reported p-type inverters based on pentacene where the input transis-
tor operated with a negative threshold voltage and the load transistor with a positive threshold
voltage. The threshold voltage of the driving transistor had been shifted by a special treatment
of the insulator-semiconductor interface so that the device was switched off at a gate-source
voltage equal to zero. The combination of an enhancement-mode input and a depletion-mode
load transistor is a concept that was commonly used in the early days of MOS integrated
circuits and is referred to as enhancement-depletion (E/D) logic [97, 100].
The pull-up element can also be a transistor of complementary semiconductor type, i.e. n-
type charge carriers if the pull-down transistor is p-type and vice versa. This configuration is
usually employed in state-of-the-art logic circuits and is referred to as CMOS (complementary
metal-oxide semiconductor
1
) logic [37, 101]. In CMOS-type inverters, both the gate of the
pull-up and the gate of the pull-down transistor are connected to the input. Examples of
organic complementary circuits can be found in [102, 103].
Alternatively, the transfer characteristics of ambipolar OFETs (see Section 3.2.8) can be
exploited to design inverters with CMOS-like voltage-transfer characteristics as shown in
Fig. 5.3. Unlike inverters with true normally-off complementary transistors, ambipolar in-
verters never reach the supply rails. This fact also complicates the implementation of more
complex logic gates like NANDs or NORs, because ambipolar transistors in series connec-
tions do not fully switch off.
Another option is to use a resistor as the pull-up element connecting the output to the
supply rail V
DD
. Examples of circuits utilizing resistor loads have been presented e.g. in
[104].
1
The expression MOS (metal oxide semiconductor) originates from the early material structure of inversion-
layer CMOS transistors consisting of a silicon dioxide (SiO
2
) dielectric sandwiched between a metal gate and
the semiconductor.
96 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
Output
Input
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 20 40 60 80 100
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
input voltage
V
DD
Fig. 5.3: Schematic and voltage transfer characteristic of an ambipolar inverter.
5.1.2 Enhancements
The fact that most organic semiconductor materials exhibit weakly normally-on or weakly
normally-off behavior leads to poor performance of the input transistor as it can only be
switched off with difficulties. Unless the complementary-type circuit concept is used, the
logic levels are determined by the ratio between the channel resistance of the input transistor
at a given gate-source voltage and the resistance value of the load element. The switch-off be-
havior of the input transistor can be improved by applying a positive voltage at its gate. This
observation led to the realization of level shifter concepts in OFET-based logic circuits [85].
In principle, the initial logic block is followed by an output stage which shifts the output volt-
age to more favorable voltage levels. For p-type semiconductors, output voltages around zero
are shifted to positive voltages. This technique has already been described in the early 1960s
for transistor-based logic gates [105] and has also frequently been used in logic circuits em-
ploying normally-on gallium-arsenide transistors under the name Buffered FET Logic (BFL)
[106]. With a level-shifter concept, however, an additional supply voltage is required and the
real estate and wiring complexity of circuits increases. Fig. 5.4 shows the schematic of an
inverter in level shifter configuration.
Other researchers switched from static to dynamic logic. Pull-up elements in ratioed logic
are implemented by the same types of transistors as pull-down elements and are statically
driven. If the transistors operate in current-source load configurations the sink current pro-
vided by the pull-up transistor is considerably lower than the drive current provided by the
pull-down transistor. An increased width-to-length ratio of the pull-up device boosts its sink
current but also its gate capacitance. The increased capacitance will limit the attainable circuit
speed. Use of a diode load configuration considerably reduces the parasitic capacitance at the
cost of a reduced noise margin (see Section 5.3.2) of the logic gates. In order to improve the
5.2. Circuit Characterization 97
A
Q
V
SS
V
DD
M
1
M
2
M
4
M
3
Fig. 5.4: Schematic of an inverter in level-shifter configuration.
performance of OFET-based logic circuits, dynamic circuit concepts have been investigated.
Huitema et al. [107] reported on a logic circuit utilizing pentacene transistors and a 120-stage
shift-register with 2,160 transistors in a dynamic circuit concept. The basic idea of a dynamic
circuit concept is to add a clock input to the logic gates. This clock is used for dividing the
operation of the gate into two phases: setup (also called precharge) and evaluation phase. In
the setup phase, the output of the gate is precharged to the logic high voltage regardless of the
input values. In the evaluation phase, the output goes to the low level if the configuration of
the input signals forces it to do so, but will otherwise stay at the high level. Details about the
actual OFET-based implementation were not given in [107] but the concept of dynamic logic
is frequently used for implementing high-speed silicon-based logic circuits. Fig. 5.5 shows
the schematic of a NOR gate in dynamic logic. During the precharge phase, the input PRE is
used for charging the output to the voltage level V
DD
while the inputs A and B stay at GND.
In the subsequent evaluation phase, the output may go to ground potential, depending on the
states of the inputs.
5.2 Circuit Characterization
Circuits are frequently implemented by combining prebuilt cells with different functionality in
order to implement the desired behavior [108]. Normally, chip manufacturers supply libraries
of the cells that can be used for developing the circuit with software for computer-aided circuit
design. These libraries contain specifications of the cells which describe their functional and
electrical behavior.
There exist tools for characterizing the electrical behavior of cells using circuit simulation.
These tools generate testbenches, carry out circuit simulations, and compile characterization
98 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
Q
B
PRE
A
V
DD
Fig. 5.5: Schematic of a NOR gate in a dynamic logic configuration. The input PRE is used
for precharging the output to V
DD
via the load transistor.
reports on circuit behavior.
In the domain of logic circuits, the following properties are characterized [108, 109]:
2 Robustness, i.e. valid logic levels and noise margin.
2 Timing, including rise/fall times, transition times, clocking requirements.
2 Driving capability, i.e. fan out characterization.
2 Input capacitance.
2 Characterization of power consumption.
These characteristics and especially the first two (logic levels/noise margin and timing) can
also be used for evaluating the performance of an OFET technology. Therefore, it is worth-
while to take a closer look at the mechanisms of the characterization process. The following
two sections will provide a discussion of methods characterization robustness (Section 5.3)
and timing (Section 5.4).
Robustness is discussed because most OFET-based logic circuits suffer from non-ideal
VTCs. The unity-gain method as the standard procedure for analyzing noise margins of logic
circuits (see Section 5.3.3) can only be applied with care. Timing characterization is discussed
because standard methods of deriving delay times and other timing data often assume well-
behaved clocking signals (with sharp slopes) which are not frequently used in low-cost organic
circuits. Therefore, alternate characterization methods have to be investigated.
Other characteristics will not be detailed in the following owing to the fact that standard
methods described in literature [37, 106, 110, 111] can readily be applied to organic logic
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 99
circuits. Moreover, these characteristics are more important for experienced chip designers
than for the analysis of the general performance potential of OFET technologies.
5.3 Characterization of Robustness
One important characteristic of logic circuits is their robustness. It defines the ability of a logic
circuit to safely detect and issue valid voltage levels for the distinct logic states in the presence
of adverse noise at the input signals. In a general way, noise is defined as any deviation from
nominal voltages [112]. Sources for noise can e.g. be [113]:
2 Spurious signals or crosstalk which interfere with information-carrying circuit nodes.
2 Inherent fluctuations of device parameters owing to fabrication process or operating
point variations.
For OFET-based logic circuits, the contribution of device variations is more important
than spurious signals owing to the low packing density of organic logic circuits [114] and the
early stages in the fabrication technology. Several possibilities exist to derive information on
the robustness of logic circuits. A selection of these will be discussed in the following. First,
the method of equilibrium zones will be discussed as it helps defining valid voltage levels for
logic circuits in the presence of VTC variation. At its core, this method is only a qualitative
approach. Therefore, the concept of noise margin is presented as it introduces figures of merit
which can be measured. Then, the unity-gain method is detailed. It is the standard method for
state-of-the-art integrated circuits using CMOS devices but occasionally fails in assessing the
robustness of organic logic circuits. Therefore, the method of maximum squares is discussed
which is often used in non-CMOS circuits to analyze robustness. Finally, methods inspecting
certain gain values of the VTC are reviewed.
5.3.1 Method of Equilibrium Zones
Pierce [115] treated the problem of tolerance and robustness in 1963 by inspecting signal
regeneration in the presence of VTC variations. He introduced “equilibrium zones” in order
to assess the compatibility between different types of logic gates. In the following text, this
method will hence be referred to as method of equilibrium zones in the following. To the
best knowledge of the author of this work, Pierce’s method is not used in other literature on
noise-margin calculations.
The method of equilibrium zones starts by inspecting the VTC of a single-input non-
inverting buffer performing the Boolean identity operation Q=A, where A is the input and Q
the output. The voltage V
out
at the output Q of the non-inverting buffer is some function f of
100 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
the input voltage V
in
at the input A, i.e. V
out
= f(V
in
). A stable VTC has three equilibrium
points where V
in
= V
out
(see Fig. 5.6):
2 voltage V
L
for stable low level,
2 voltage V
H
for stable high level,
2 voltage V
M
for the metastable point between these two.
If identical buffers are arranged in a long chain of gates with the output of each gate
connected to the input of its successor then the following relationship between the input V
in,1
of the first gate and the output V
out,m
of the last gate is given by:
V
in,1
< V
M
⇒ V
out,m
= V
L
,
V
in,1
= V
M
⇒ V
out,m
= V
M
,
V
in,1
> V
M
⇒ V
out,m
= V
H
.
(5.1)
V
M
marks the boundary between valid voltage levels for the low and high states with
0 ≤ V
L
< V
M
< V
H
≤ V
DD
, (5.2)
when assuming positive supply voltages (V
DD
> 0).
1
A Q
0
V
in
V
out
V
DD
V
DD
V
M
V
H
V
L
V
M
V
H
V
L
V
in
V
out
Fig. 5.6: VTC of a non-inverting buffer with equilibrium points V
L
, V
M
, and V
H
.
However, one single VTC for all gates is not realistic. Real gates will display slight
differences in their VTC shapes owing to parameter variations or switching noise. In these
cases, upper and lower bound VTCs can be defined and used for the preceding equilibrium
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 101
analyses. In the presence of upper and lower bounds, the analysis will yield equilibrium zones
instead of single equilibrium points (see Fig. 5.7). These equilibrium zones define regions
in which the final equilibrium points will lie. The points cannot be stated exactly owing to
the statistical nature in which the individual VTCs vary. More importantly, it is not known
in the region belonging to the metastable equilibrium points whether the output will increase
or decrease between two or more stages and eventually lead to a stable output high or low
voltage. Hence, the middle region is called indeterminate zone in [115]. Valid logic levels are
required to avoid the indeterminate zone.
0
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
input voltage
i
n
d
e
t
e
r
m
i
n
a
t
e
lower bound
VTC
upper bound
VTC
l
o
w
h
i
g
h
Fig. 5.7: Determination of equilibrium zones of non-inverting buffers using upper and lower
bound VTCs. The individual equilibrium points are marked by circles.
The method of equilibrium zones can also be extended to inverters and more complex
gates. In the case of inverters, simply a pair of two gates is combined so to implement the
identity operation and getting plots in the form of Fig. 5.7.
Worst-case combinations of pairs of two inverters have to be considered in order to derive
the equilibrium zones. In spite of that, these zones are readily available when plotting the
upper and lower bound VTCs in a diagram together with their reflections about the x = y line
(see Fig. 5.8). Therefore, it is not necessary to calculate the VTC of the pair of inverters.
By use of the reflection, values on the x axis serve both as input of the first and output of
the second inverter while values on the y axis serve both as output of the first and input of the
second inverter. At each intersection between a true and a reflected VTC, an equilibrium point
of the VTC of the respective pair of inverters is located. This is due to the fact that there, the
second inverter will transform its input voltage to a value equivalent to the input voltage of
the first inverter.
Once the equilibrium zones have been established their positions can be drawn in a dia-
102 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
0
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
,

f
i
r
s
t

i
n
v
e
r
t
e
r
output voltage, second inverter
i
n
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
,

s
e
c
o
n
d

i
n
v
e
r
t
e
r
input voltage, first inverter
l
o
w
i
n
d
e
t
e
r
m
i
n
a
t
e
h
i
g
h
inverter
1 1
first second
inverter
Fig. 5.8: Determination of equilibriumzones for pairs of inverters by plotting true (solid lines)
and reflected curves (broken lines) of the upper and lower bound VTCs. The individual equi-
librium points are marked by circles. The inset shows the constellation of the two inverters.
gram to test the compatibility of gates with different equilibrium zones (see Fig. 5.9). If gates
are to be interconnected their indeterminate zones must not coincide with either the high or
low equilibrium zones of their partners in order to yield regenerating signals.
? high low
Driving Gate
0
0
low high ?
Sensing Gate
V
DD
V
DD
Voltage
Voltage
Fig. 5.9: Compatibility diagram of two gates of different types. The boxes with the question
marks denote the indeterminate zones.
5.3.2 Concept of Noise Margin
A drawback of the method of equilibrium zones is that, in its original form, it is only a qual-
itative tool. In order to compare the performance potential of different circuit or device tech-
nologies by numbers, the concept of noise margin is helpful.
The noise margin can be calculated by defining four critical voltage levels in a VTC. An
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 103
inverter as the simplest form of logic gate detects and issues logic states according to the
following relationship between input voltage V
in
, output voltage V
out
, and the four critical
voltage levels V
IL,max
, V
IH,min
, V
OL,max
, and V
OH,min
[116, 117]:
V
in
≤ V
IL,max
⇒ V
out
≥ V
OH,min
,
V
in
> V
IH,min
⇒ V
out
< V
OL,max
.
(5.3)
Here, V
IL,max
(V
IH,min
) is the maximum (minimum) allowable voltage level for the logic
low (high) level at the input, V
OH,min
(V
OL,max
) is the minimum(maximum) allowable voltage
level for the logic high (low) level at the output. Moreover, positive voltages are assumed. The
relationships in (5.3) give rise to the voltage tolerance between inputs and outputs [116] as
NM
H
= V
OH,min
−V
IH,min
,
NM
L
= V
IL,max
−V
OL,max
.
(5.4)
The tolerance of a gate against variations of the input voltages is defined in terms of the noise
margin NM
L
for the logic low level and NM
H
for the logic high level. In order to get both
NM
L
> 0 and NM
H
> 0, the following relationships are required:
0 < V
OL,max
< V
IL,max
< V
IH,min
< V
OH,min
< V
DD
. (5.5)
The diagram in Fig. 5.10 can be used for visualizing the definitions in (5.4) and (5.5). In
the lower part of the figure, two gates are connected via a noisy path. It should be stressed that
noise sources can be spurious signals or variations in the transistors of the gates. The upper
part of the figure represents the graphical equivalence of (5.4) and (5.5)
There exists no general rule for the definition of the critical voltages V
IL,max
, V
IH,min
,
V
OL,max
and V
OH,min
. Although the method of equilibrium zones can be used for defining
the critical voltages (see Fig. 5.11), this approach is not used in literature on noise margin
calculations. Instead, the unity gain method presented in Section 5.3.3 is often used. For
OFET-based logic circuits, however, it will sometimes predict negative noise margin for fully
functional logic gates.
A simple graphical test to determine whether a particular gate complies with given noise
margins [116] can be carried out. In the test, the VTC f(V
in
) of the gate is drawn in the VTC
box and the shaded areas where V
out
< V
OH,min
for all 0 < V
in
< V
IL,max
and V
out
> V
OL,max
for all V
IH,min
< V
in
< V
DD
. A valid VTC does not enter these shaded areas (see Fig. 5.12).
104 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
1 1 noise
V
OL,max
gate M gate M + 1
V
OUT
V
DD
V
IH,min
V
IL,max
V
OH,min
V
IN
NM
H
NM
L
Fig. 5.10: Definition of noise margins (adaption from [117]).
low
0
? high
V
DD
Voltage
V
OL,max
V
OH,min
V
IL,max
V
IH,min
Fig. 5.11: Definition of critical voltages using the method of equilibrium zones.
0
0
V
IL,max
V
OL,max
V
OH,min
V
DD
V
IH,min
V
DD
V
in
f(V
in
)
V
out
Fig. 5.12: Graphical VTC test for a robust inverter.
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 105
5.3.3 Unity Gain Method
A popular approach to determine V
IL,max
, V
IH,min
, V
OL,max
and V
OH,min
is the unity gain ap-
proach (see [116] and the references therein). Currently, it is the method of choice in the deter-
mination of noise margins of CMOS gates. In this approach, V
IL,max
and V
IH,min
are given by
the -1 slope points in the VTC. The output voltages can be defined as V
OH,min
= f(V
IL,max
)
and V
OL,max
= f(V
IH,min
), see Fig. 5.13. This setup maximizes the sum of the two noise
margins [118]
NM
L
+ NM
H
= V
IL,max
−f(V
IH,min
) −V
IH,min
+ f(V
IL,max
). (5.6)
The maximumvalue can be derived by finding the zero of the derivative of NM
L
+NM
H
with
respect to V
IL,max
and V
IH,min
. Zero is reached at the unity gain points where the relations are
df(V
IL,max
)/dV
IL,max
= −1 and df(V
IH,min
)/dV
IH,min
= −1. The reader should note that
negative noise margins can occur for either NM
L
or NM
H
.
slope −1
slope −1
V
IH,min
V
IL,max
V
out
V
in
0
0
V
DD
V
OH,min
V
OL,max
V
DD
Fig. 5.13: Definition of input/output tolerance ranges with unity-gain method.
A drawback of the unity gain method is that defining V
IL,max
and V
IH,min
by the -1 slope
points is not a necessary condition when checking the validity of a VTC. Therefore, this
approach sometimes leads to negative noise margins for logic circuits because one of the -1
slope points does not exist. A negative value for a VTC would suggest that no regeneration of
input voltages to valid logic levels is possible. However, this is not true as can be seen from
the example in Fig. 5.14. For the VTC depicted in the figure, the unity gain method fails in
106 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
the calculation of the noise margin as only one -1 slope point exists. Yet, the VTC possesses
three equilibrium points and hence, stable voltage levels for logic high and low exist.
slope −1
reflected VTC
inverter VTC
V
DD
V
OL,max
0 V
IH,min
V
in
V
DD
V
out
Fig. 5.14: Inverter VTC where the unity gain method fails but valid logic levels exist.
Another problemof the unity gain method is that taking the critical values V
IL,max
, V
IH,min
,
V
OL,max
, and V
OH,min
from a single VTC is not reasonable as device variations can alter the
VTC shapes. As a solution to this problem, upper and lower bound VTCs can be derived and
worst-case points for the critical values can be selected from these.
5.3.4 Method of Maximum Squares
The problem of noise margins was treated in [119, 120] by inspecting an infinite chain of
inverters with identical VTCs. Noise can be modeled by voltage sources in series to the inputs
of the inverters in the chain. The worst-case noise condition occurs when noise sources are
present at the inputs of all gates with all low gate and high gate noise sources contributing in
the most deleterious way. This happens when driving the logic low inputs toward logic high
values and the logic high inputs toward logic low values.
In terms of noise analysis, the infinite chain of inverters together with their associated
noise sources can be substituted by a latch consisting of two cross-coupled inverters with
noise voltages in series to the inputs. In this configuration, only two inverters and two noise
sources have to be treated. The noise analysis is used for determining the noise levels which
force the latch to switch from a stored to the other logic state and consequently cause the
memory element to malfunction. The analysis can be carried out by inspecting the VTC of
the first inverter in the latch together with a reflection about the x = y line so that for the
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 107
second inverter in the latch, the y axis serves as the input axis and the x axis as its output
axis. The same graphical representation was also used by Pierce [115] (see Section 5.3.1).
The latch retains the stored logic state as long as the two curves continue to intersect in three
points [121] even in the presence of deleterious noise, which will somehow shift the curves.
Fig. 5.15 shows a graphical representation of the extraction scheme. The latch in the left
part of the figure is used in the analysis and is equipped with noise sources. First/second
V
IN
/V
OUT
in the diagram are the input and output voltages of the first and second inverter.
In order to obtain the noise margin for the worst-case series voltage, the maximum possible
square between the normal and reflected VTCis considered. The noise sources with maximum
allowable amplitude V
n,max
are represented by the equally-sized sides of the maximum square
within the loop. Upon exerting V
n,max
at both noise sources in Fig. 5.15, the points of the
true and reflected VTCs at the corners of the maximum square coincide and there is only
one intersection point for both VTCs. For detrimental noise sources with amplitudes below
V
n,max
, there still exist three intersection points between the two.
1
1
noise first
noise
source
source
inverter
second
inverter
0
0
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
,

f
i
r
s
t

i
n
v
e
r
t
e
r
i
n
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
,

s
e
c
o
n
d

i
n
v
e
r
t
e
r
V
DD
V
DD
input voltage, first inverter
output voltage, second inverter
V
n,max
V
n,max
Fig. 5.15: Graphical extraction of maximum-square noise margin.
The approach yields the maximum square noise margin and hence, equal noise margins
for logic low and logic high states. In real gates, attainable noise margins for the logic high
and logic low stare are normally not equal [116]. Therefore, it is sometimes more favorable to
consider the maximum possible product between the noise margin for the logic low and logic
high state. However, the calculation of the maximum square is far more feasible than the
calculation of the maximum product. The maximum square noise margin can be calculated
by rotating the true and reflected VTCs by 45° and then calculating the differences between
the two curves. These differences are equivalent to the diagonals of the squares between
108 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
diagonal points of the two VTCs. The calculation of the differences can even be carried out
in a circuit simulator as demonstrated by Seevinck and colleagues [122]. The procedure in
[122] consists of searching for the longest diagonal between the true and reflected VTC. Upon
rotating both curves by 45°, the original (x, y) coordinate system is translated into a (u, v)
coordinate system. In the latter coordinate system, the v values of the true and mirrored VTCs
can be subtracted in order to yield the diagonal. The magnitudes of the maximum positive
and maximum negative values correspond to the diagonal of the maximum square between
the two curves (see Fig. 5.16). [122] describes the true and reflected VTCs by the functions
y = F
1
(x) and y = F

2
(x). F
1
represents the true VTC and F

2
the reflected VTC of a second
gate with VTC F
2
. Owing to process variations or worst-case considerations, F
1
and F
2
may
differ. The transformation from (x, y) to (u, v) is
x =
1

2
u +
1

2
v, (5.7)
y = −
1

2
u +
1

2
v, (5.8)
so that y = F
1
(x) translates into
v = u +

2F
1

1

2
u +
1

2
v

(5.9)
and x = F
2
(y) into
v = −u +

2F
2


1

2
u +
1

2
v

. (5.10)
(5.9) and (5.10) can be used for calculating v as an implicit function of u. The maximum
value of the absolute difference between the two vs is equivalent to the maximum-square noise
margin times

2. The solutions for v can be calculated in a circuit simulator using the setup
depicted in Fig. 5.17.
The noise margin as defined by the method of maximum squares is not compatible with
the graphical test from Fig. 5.12. Unlike the unity gain method, it can easily cope with the
problem shown in Fig. 5.14. As long as there exists an opening in the loop between true and
reflected VTCs, a noise margin according to the method of maximum squares can be derived.
Like in the case of the unity gain method, calculating the maximum square from a single
VTC is not reasonable as device variations can alter the VTC shapes. Upper and lower bound
VTCs can be used for calculating worst-case maximum squares.
In work dealing with OFET-based noise margin calculations, the method of maximum
squares is preferably used (see [114, 123, 124]).
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 109
u
v
F
1
F

2
45

y
x
F
1
(u) −F2

(u)
Fig. 5.16: Extraction of maximum-square noise margin using a coordinate system rotated by
45° (adaption from [122]).
5.3.5 VTC Gain Considerations
In Section 5.3.1, the robustness of logic gates was treated by introducing the three equilibrium
points V
L
, V
M
, and V
H
for identity gates. V
L
and V
H
are stable equilibrium points while V
M
between them is metastable. Metastability is reached by a gain or slope of the VTC curve
at V
M
in excess of unity. For inverters, the VTC of a pair of inverters is inspected in order
to yield a logic identity function. If both inverters have identical VTCs, V
M
corresponds to
the intersection between the inverter VTC and the curve V
out
= V
in
. The inverter gain G
I
at V
in
= V
M
is critical to the robustness of the gates. Hence, the expression critical gain is
used in this work for g
crit
= G
I
(V
M
). In the case of inverters, the gain of the inverter pair
G(V
M
) = G
2
I
(V
M
) so that |G
I
(V
M
)| > 1 is required. Conventionally, G
I
(V
in
) ≤ 0 for all
sensible input voltages of an inverter so that a critical gain
g
crit
< −1 (5.11)
is required for robust operation. Therefore, the critical gain can be used as a qualitative figure
which represents the robustness of an inverter. To the knowledge of the author of this work,
the concept of critical gain is not used elsewhere in literature on noise-margin calculations.
Instead, the maximum negative gain g
max
= max |G
I
| is sometimes used in other publications
110 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
+

+
+



+
+

+
+



+
1
1
v
out
v
1
v
out
v
2
F
1
F
2
u
u
1

2
v
1
1

2
u

2v
out
+u
1

2
v
2

1

2
u

2v
out
−u
Fig. 5.17: Circuit to calculate maximum-square noise margin according to [122].
(e.g. [125]) for describing the robustness of a logic gate.
The difference between the critical gain and the maximum negative gain can be explained
by using the inverter gain and VTC plot in Fig. 5.18. The plots show typical simulation results
for an inverter in current-source configuration. Channel length and width of the driving tran-
sistor were L = 5 µm, W
D
= 1500 µm, and for the load transistor L = 5 µm, W
L
= 12 mm. In
the simulation, the driving transistor was mapped by a Linvar model while the load transistor
was mapped by a Level-1 model specifically tailored toward reproducing the zero V
GS
curve.
More details about the simulations can be found in Section 6.3.1. The following values can
be extracted from the plot: V
M
≈ -5.15 V, critical gain g
crit
≈ -2.1, g
max
≈ -8.3.
In the VTC, g
crit
lies close to the negative unity gain while g
max
is located farther away.
This behavior is typical of OFET-based logic circuits without complementary devices for
the pull-up and pull-down path. As will be shown on p. 142, the critical gain has a closer
relationship to the noise margin than the maximum negative gain.
5.3.6 Discussion of Characterization Methods
The method of equilibrium zones relies on knowledge about upper and lower bounds for the
VTC. This complicates application of the method because these bounds have to be found by
worst-case analysis, e.g. by time-consuming stochastic simulations or by knowledge about the
influences of the device parameters. This knowledge has to be established beforehand for the
logic family in use. On the other hand, the method of equilibrium zones yields a tangible way
of determining the compatibility of logic gates. This behavior is very important in the case of
ratioed logic which suffers e.g. from bias-induced parameter shifts. As another advantage, a
5.3. Characterization of Robustness 111
gain
VTC
ratio = 8
i
n
p
u
t

=

o
u
t
p
u
t
−20
−15
−10
−5
0
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
−9
−8
−7
−6
−5
−4
−3
−2
−1
0
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
input voltage [V] −−>
V
T
C

g
a
i
n

[
]



>
Fig. 5.18: Plot of inverter VTC and inverter gain for a gate in current-source configuration:
V
M
≈ -5.15 V, critical gain g
crit
≈ -2.1, g
max
≈ -8.3.
sort of worst-case analysis is implemented by this method as the lower and upper bounds mark
the expectable VTCconditions. Noise introduced by parameter variation and subsequent VTC
shift is explicitly treated and therefore, a precise analysis of static noise margins is possible.
The unity gain method is mainly used in the analysis of modern CMOS circuits. Noise
margins can easily be extracted from a measured or simulated VTC by considering the points
where the derivative of dV
out
/dV
in
= −1. However, there exist conclusions ([116]) that only
techniques based on embedding some area within the true and reflected VTCs give reliable
noise margin values for a broad range of possible VTCs. These results are consistent with
findings in this work (cf. p. 142). For non-CMOS circuits, noise-margin considerations based
on the unity gain method easily yield negative noise margins although the maximum-square
method predicts the existence of positive noise margins.
With the method of maximum squares, the maximum square noise margin can easily be
obtained by simulation (see Section 5.3.1). A drawback of the method is that variations in
fabrication and environmental conditions are modeled with constant noise sources in the form
of series voltages. These variations lead nevertheless to nonlinear VTC changes. For example,
the noise margins for logic high and logic low states are affected differently as has been shown
in [126]. This problem could be solved by inspecting lower-bound and upper-bound VTCs in
a similar way as in the method of equilibrium zones.
Evaluation of the critical gain of an inverter VTC is a quick method of checking the ro-
bustness of the gate. The calculation of the maximum negative gain on the other hand is
more frequently used in literature on noise-margin calculations. It is more useful in the as-
112 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
sessment of CMOS-type gates with well-behaved VTCs. Both methods (critical gain and
maximum negative gain) suffer from calculation inaccuracies in the derivation of the gain
from the VTCs.
Generally, it is questionable whether voltage sources are sufficient to map the noise con-
tributions of parameter variations on VTC shapes in the derivation of noise margins. Further
investigation seems to be in order. For example, V
T
or λ shifts are more critical for the low
levels of CSL-type inverters (see Fig. 5.2). The resulting behavior will not be correctly repro-
duced by shifting the VTC with voltage sources. Instead, worst-case considerations of VTCs
need to be used for defining valid noise margins.
5.4 Timing Characterization
Timing characterization shows the attainable speed of a logic cell. Numerous timing figures
have been defined as meaningful performance figures: rise, fall, and delay times. They mea-
sure the response of a gate to a voltage pulse (e.g. [113]). The rise (fall) time is typically
measured from 10% to 90% (90% to 10%) of the difference between the logic low (high) and
logic high (low) state [101]. There also exist definitions using 20% and 80% thresholds [106].
The delay time t
D
represents the time interval between input and output levels being half way
between logic low and logic high states.
The delay time is an important timing figure in systems with a large number of logic gates
in series where the net delay between the input and the output of the system is large.
A step pulse is typically used for calculating the timing behavior of logic circuits. Analyti-
cal expressions have been derived to predict these times. Popular methods rely on simplifying
assumptions like constant capacitances or negligible influence of feedback effects in the cir-
cuits [127]. Moreover, the response time of a gate is normally longer than the transition time of
a step pulse at its input [128]. Hence, using step pulses overestimates the gate delay [129] and
more sophisticated analysis techniques have been developed to deal with the non-idealities of
logic gates (see e.g. [113, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132]).
Alternate definitions of relevant transition times can be found e.g. in [133], where the
input signal transitions are not restricted to unrealistically ideal steps but instead resort to
ramp signals with finite slopes. Fig. 5.19 details the definitions of the transition times, which
are derived as follows:
2 t
f
is the fall time indicating the time interval to decrease V
out
from its 90% to its 10%
point. This time is also referred to as slew [134].
2 t
r
is the rise time indicating the time interval to increase V
out
from its 10% to its 90%
point.
5.4. Timing Characterization 113
2 t
df
is the high–to–low delay time indicating the difference between the 50% point of the
input rising transition and the 50% point of the output transition from high to low.
2 t
dr
is the low–to-high delay time indicating the difference between the 50% point of the
input falling transition and the 50% point of the output transition from low to high.
V
OH
V
OL
t
t
V
OH
V
OL
90%
10%
t
dr
t
df
t
f
t
r
50%
50%
V
in
(t)
V
out
(t)
Fig. 5.19: Definition of switching times based on an input signal with ramp-like high and low
transition slopes.
In the case of unbalanced rise and fall times, an average propagation delay in the form of
t
P
=
1
2
(t
PHL
+ t
PLH
) can be defined. Alternatively, the pair delay t
PD
represents the delay
of a pair of identical gates. The pair delay is equivalent to the time delay between the time
points where the input of the first gate and the output of the second gate reach 50% of their
voltage swing [135].
The various response times presented in the preceding paragraphs always have to be re-
lated to the capacitive load of the gate under characterization, i.e. the fan-out. The fan-out
(FO) is a value counting the number of identical gates driven by a specified output [101].
An increase in fan-out leads to additional capacitance at the output of a gate. So, reports on
response times always need to specify the output capacitance for which the times have been
obtained. Similarly, a fan-in (FI) can be defined as the number of inputs a gate possesses
114 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
[101]. For example, a 4-input NOR gate has a fan-in of four. The fan-in can also be important
for the response times. This is due to the fact that input transistors influence the charging and
discharging of the output node by providing additional capacitance and/or leakage currents.
Schrom [125] points out that the relation between the response times and the average fan-
in/fan-out is difficult to derive. Numerous models have therefore been developed to predict
this relationship [125, 134].
For numerical analyses in simulations, valid voltage levels for high and low voltages are
needed in order to calculate the measurement points. In CMOS concepts, there is no need to
derive logic levels as usually V
DD
/10, V
DD
/2, and V
DD
can be assumed. Conversely, the real
values of both logic levels in ratioed logic depend on device geometries and parameter varia-
tions. Therefore, the voltage levels for these logic levels need to be established beforehand. A
practical approach in analysis, simulation, and measurement is to use ring oscillator circuits to
produce reasonable waveforms (e.g. [98, 125, 136]). A ring oscillator is a chain of inverting
gates with an odd number of stages. The simplest form of inverting gates can be inverters (see
Fig. 5.20) but other gates like NAND or NOR are also suitable. The output of each gate is
connected to the input of its successor. The output of the last gate is fed back to the input of
the first gate. This configuration leads to an oscillation with a frequency of f ≈ 1/(2nt
D
)
where n is the number of stages and t
D
is the delay per stage. The advantage of this approach
is that it yields the attainable voltage levels and transition times under realistic conditions. On
the other hand, n has to be chosen to be sufficiently large in order to allow the output voltages
of the gates to settle in response to rising and falling edges. But a large value for n also leads
to a long period time 1/f which has to be simulated.
1 1 1
Fig. 5.20: Schematic of a ring oscillator composed of inverters.
Generally, the definitions of the transit times need to be used carefully because the results
depend on the input waveform and output load [125]. Due to different rise and fall times, even
negative delay times may occur [108]. In order to model the influence of input waveform and
output loading, logic cells are usually characterized by tables or equations that relate delay
time and output slew as a function of load capacitance and input slew. By using tables or
equations, timing models for logic simulation and circuit synthesis are possible. In this work,
performance figures are only used for comparing different device generations or logic families.
Consequently, these advanced techniques are considered to be beyond the scope of this work.
The interested reader is referred e.g. to [137] and the references therein for a more detailed
discussion of the topic.
5.5. Automation of Circuit Characterization 115
5.5 Automation of Circuit Characterization
To carry out circuit characterization in an efficient way, a high degree of automation is re-
quired. Therefore, numerous software packages exist to aid the users in the process of circuit
analysis. In the field of OFET-based semiconductor technologies, the analysis results assist
in the optimization of devices. Design automation tools can be used for determining various
electrical characteristics of circuits. These tools are referred to as circuit characterization
tools and can be broadly separated into characterization tools for logic circuits and general
characterization tools.
5.5.1 Tools for Characterization of Logic Circuits
Circuit characterization is frequently used for deriving various electrical characteristics of
logic circuits like timing, power consumption, or input capacitances in a form usable by digital
simulation and cell-based circuit synthesis. The latter transforms an abstract description of a
system into a real implementation by generating an integrated circuit. Logic cells like logic
gates or flip-flops are used as the building blocks of the system. The synthesis algorithms need
descriptions of these cells in order to take performance limits into account when numerous
inputs are connected to one single output, etc. Hence, issues like the determination of input
capacitance or timing behavior are emphasized in the characterization of logic circuits. The
focus in this domain is to provide simple models that can be used in calculations during the
synthesis or simulation process.
Characterization tools automatically characterize cells, i.e. provide model parameters use-
ful for logic synthesis, logic simulation, timing and power optimization, or create data books
for designers. SPICE simulations are typically used for measuring and extracting the electri-
cal parameters of logic cells. These parameters are calculated at individual process, voltage,
and temperature corners. A cell under characterization is embedded into a test circuit, where
it is evaluated with reasonable conditions.
Anon-exhaustive list of commercial tools includes Z circuit ZChar [138], LibTech LibChar
[139], Synopsys NanoChar [140], Simucad AccuCell [141], or Magma SiliconSmart [142].
During the activities in this work, the author could only experimentally evaluate the open-
source characterization tool Autochar [111]. The other packages were evaluated using the
respective operation manuals, user reports, or conference presentations. Autochar is written
in the popular scripting language Perl and is used for circuit characterization with Synopsys
Star-Hspice or Silvaco SmartSPICE. The tool automates the generation of test circuits useful
in the extraction of load delay, input capacitance, setup and hold times for D-type flip-flops
(DFFs) as well as clock enable and clock-to-Q time for clocked DFFs (Q=output of the flip-
flop). Autochar is specifically tailored toward the characterization of CMOS-type circuits.
116 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
This property is reflected by the fact that e.g. delay times are measured between the fixed
thresholds of 10 and 90% of the supply voltage V
DD
. In order to be useful in timing analysis
for OFET-based circuits, Autochar would have to adapt to varying voltage ranges for logic
levels. Moreover, the package does not provide the determination of static noise margins.
The analysis flow is managed by a control file in Perl notation. References to netlists
and model sets are stored within this file as well as a specification of the desired analyses
and characterization conditions. The tool reads the control file and generates the relevant test
circuit according to the specifications of the input vectors, waveform slopes, and gate loads.
Then, the tool calls the simulator and retrieves all required information from the simulation
results. The data are interpreted and a characterization report is generated.
In contrast to commercial tools, Autochar does not provide sophisticated automation of
cell characterization. The package does not automatically analyze the structure of cells un-
der characterization in order to derive their logic functionality and required testbenches. It
is the responsibility of the user to define functionality and mode of input excitement. More-
over, there exists no graphical user interface. Instead, Perl-style configuration files have to be
written. On the other hand, Autochar is open source software. Users can readily extend the
functionality of the package. However, the last official release of the software dates back to
the year 2000. Other tools like AccuCell are more flexible when dealing with timing thresh-
olds but do neither include analyses for static noise margins (see Section 5.3.2) nor graphical
user interfaces.
In general, characterization software for logic circuits already implements standard analy-
ses necessary in the treatment of logic circuits (power consumption, circuit speed, etc.). Some
tools require only little work for the configuration of the analyses. These tools try to derive the
logic functionality by inspecting the structure of the cells under consideration. Yet, commer-
cial cell characterization packages are expensive tools where pricing starts at $55,000 [143].
Moreover, the tools mostly implement features not needed in the analysis of OFET-based
circuits with considerably lower structural complexity than the usual logic cells in CMOS li-
braries. On the other hand, simple analyses like the automatic determination of frequencies of
ring oscillators or static noise margins are missing.
5.5.2 General Characterization Tools
The tools mentioned in the previous section focus on the treatment of logic circuits. In this
section, tools are discussed which characterize circuits in a general way. Normally, these
tools can also be used for automatically sizing the devices within a circuit, i.e. the lengths and
widths of the transistors or the resistance values of the resistors, etc., by use of optimization
strategies. There exist different tools with distinct applications, which also employ specific
5.5. Automation of Circuit Characterization 117
optimization schemes. Automatic sizing is less important for low-complexity circuits like
simple logic gates. These circuits can also be sized manually. Tools for circuit sizing get
important when circuits of higher complexities need to be implemented or optimized. In spite
of that, they provide interesting features for the analysis of OFET-based circuits like automatic
testbench generation or generic simulator interfaces. Hence, their evaluation is worthwhile.
In the following, a selection of tools with specific features is presented.
The schematic editor STAR [144] focuses on reusing designs in analog circuit design. The
idea is to add comments to circuit schematics in order to carry out predefined functions from
a library. An execution engine then processes these comments in order to generate necessary
computation routines. The goal of STAR is to create a flexible library which can be extended
with user-specified functions. The prototype tool is composed of four layers: a schematic
capture, a comment parser, an analysis layer, and a data processing layer at the bottom. The
system is implemented by a mixture of code in Tcl/Tk, Perl, and C. The central component
in STAR is the circuit schematic from which all further action is derived by inspecting the
comments embedded in it.
ASF (Analog Synthesis Framework) [145] employs simulation methods used by designers
to validate manual circuit designs during a circuit generation process. ASF incorporates mod-
ular, reusable, and user-configurable testbenches, which are called evaluators by the authors
of the package. The focus of ASF is to provide an easy-to-use and general tool where the
user can create any topology for any desired manufacturing process. The concept implements
an open framework for measuring arbitrary circuit characteristics with minimal effort. A ma-
jor goal of ASF is to feature a robust optimization and search heuristic that operates within
reasonable run-time. In order to achieve this goal, a stochastic search engine is employed for
solution finding. A special feature of ASF is to encapsulate simulators within an abstract layer
so that any simulator with an appropriate interface can be used with the package. This concept
is called simulator encapsulation.
A commercial sizing tool is NeoCircuit from Cadence [146]. It automates circuit sizing
and uses the designer’s simulator, testbenches, and transistor models to automatically evaluate
circuit solutions generated by its solver. All explored sizing candidates are preserved in a
database for further analysis. A user report on NeoCircuit is given in [147]. The tool features
a text console used for controlling the flow of the program as well as a graphical user interface
with almost the same functionality. For post-processing purposes, data can be exchanged with
the engineering software Matlab and its open-source clone Octave.
Conn and colleagues [148] report a sizing system called JiffyTune. It utilizes a circuit
simulator called SPECS and an optimization engine called LANCELOT. JiffyTune requires
the specification of a circuit schematic, input signals, a list of “tunable” transistors, with initial
widths, and a set of circuit performance requirements. The package determines the optimal
118 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
assignment of transistor widths to achieve the requirements. SPECS is a circuit simulator
which uses simplified device models and event-driven simulation to decrease simulation time.
LANCELOT, the optimization engine, repeatedly calls the simulator with different settings
for the transistor sizes in order to model the performance of the circuit. The authors in [148]
note that JiffyTune is driven by a textual control file and requires knowledgeable users. Nev-
ertheless, it provides an interface to the Cadence design system.
The above-mentioned packages focus on sizing transistors for a particular design, i.e. de-
termining their optimal width and length. A more general characterization tool is the analysis
environment Decida, which was released as open-source in 2002 by Agere [149]. The envi-
ronment allows a circuit designer to customize the set of analyses, to control and integrate
design tools, and to provide analysis and plotting capabilities [150]. Decida is implemented
using the scripting language Tcl/Tk and can be extended very flexibly. Like JiffyTune, it
resorts to the optimization engine LANCELOT in order to optimize circuits.
The characterization tools discussed in this section focus on the characterization and/or
optimization of individual circuits. Therefore, their view and user concept centers on a par-
ticular design (e.g. operational amplifier, etc.) in the form of a netlist or schematic. Some
tools do not automatically generate testbenches. Instead, the users compose their own test-
benches and define which parameters to optimize. Other tools already provide pre-generated
testbenches or allow the users to compile reusable libraries of testbenches.
The OFET-based approach discussed in this work focuses on bringing together models
and circuits and carrying out analyses on the combination of both. The circuit is not central
to the analysis but the results obtained from combining it with the transistor models. This
approach is more similar to batch-mode circuit characterization of logic circuits. To carry out
this kind of analysis with the above-mentioned general analysis tools, an additional step of
compiling a tractable schematic description would be necessary. Moreover, the existing tools
do not provide special means to generate and manage device models or heterogeneous sets of
data (schematics, models, data vectors, etc.).
5.5.3 Discussion
Characterization tools come in two flavors: specialized characterization tools for logic circuits
and general circuit analyzers. The former focus on creating parameter sets useful in digital
simulation and synthesis. They work on libraries of gates with given models. Variations of cir-
cuit or device parameters are not considered by these tools but have to be provided by the users
in the form of special models. General analysis tools on the other hand focus on the flexible
manipulation of circuit parameters. Their primary building blocks are netlists or schemat-
ics. These tools do not carry out batches of different analyses with different testbenches to
5.6. Chapter Summary 119
generate.
Individual tools manage design databases into which all generated data can be included.
Yet, since the tools do not completely cover the analysis of OFET-based circuits and transis-
tors, e.g. modeling data are not included in the database.
From the user’s point of view, a combination of the cell characterization scheme (auto-
matic testbench generation for different combinations of models and circuits) with the flex-
ibility of general circuit analyzers (parameter variation or performance optimization) would
considerably improve efficiency of the tools. This would also reduce the work in planning and
maintaining the computer experiments because the testbenches are automatically generated by
the computer.
For the human analysts who employ circuit characterization, implementation of the fol-
lowing features by characterization tools is desirable:
2 Circuit Management – Alternative circuit designs need to be managed by the charac-
terization tool. This allows the users to select benchmark circuits from different circuit
technologies (e.g. logic gates with load transistors in current-source configuration, etc.)
without the need to compile these libraries themselves. The libraries should also be
reusable in later analyses.
2 Reusable Analysis Procedures – The procedures for deriving the electrical performance
of circuits need to be reusable with different sets of models, model parameters, and cir-
cuits to use. Even the operating conditions like supply voltage or ambient temperature
need to be adjustable.
2 Documentation of Analysis Procedures – In order to facilitate documentation and back-
tracking of unexpected analysis results, the analysis procedures need to be documented.
2 Flexible Compilation of Analysis Procedures – General analysis procedures should be
easy to compile. In the analysis of OFET-based logic circuits, standard procedures for
deriving meaningful performance figures still need to be established. Therefore, the
analysis tools must be flexible enough to allow the users to reconfigure the analysis
procedures.
5.6 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, procedures for characterizing OFET-based logic circuits were discussed. The
following items summarize the discussion results:
2 Circuit analysis with emphasis on organic electronics is still in the early stages. Only
few publications analyze the impact of OFET parameters on circuit performance.
120 Chapter 5. Analysis of OFET-Based Logic Circuits
2 Characterization procedures established for traditional semiconductor technologies can
also be used for analyzing the performance of OFET-based logic circuits. These proce-
dures include e.g. static noise margin determination, delay measurement, etc. However,
the methods have to be applied with care because they often predict false results when
dealing with OFET-based circuits. For example, the unity gain method of deriving noise
margins occasionally predicts negative noise margins for functional circuits. Besides,
deriving delay times using step pulses does not reflect the clock generation schemes in
organic logic circuits (where ring oscillators provide clock signals).
2 Existing tools for circuit characterization are not adapted to the special needs of OFET
technologies. Integration of transistor modeling is missing, or basic analyses like the
calculation of maximum-square noise margin are not included. Moreover, the tools are
specifically designed for skilled users of simulators like SPICE and difficult to work
with for the occasional and non-expert user. Often, flexible combinations of different
analysis steps into more complex analyses is not possible or requires special program-
ming knowledge.
Chapter 6 will detail an analysis concept in which OFET-based logic circuits can be an-
alyzed. The concept provides a flexible interface which allows non-expert users to compile
powerful analysis scripts in a graphical way. OFET modeling and data management are also
included.
121
Chapter 6
Analysis Concept
This chapter presents an analysis concept that automates modeling of organic transistors and
characterization of OFET-based logic circuits. The basic idea is to integrate the various soft-
ware tools needed during the analysis into one single platform. The collaboration between
these tools is automated and the required data are managed in a coherent fashion. This ap-
proach allows the device analyst to concentrate on improving the devices and circuits rather
than transferring data between different tools and manipulating result vectors in order to ex-
tract meaningful performance figures. The novelty of the concept is the combination of all
of these tasks in a single environment. Automation of the analysis is reached by a graphical
scripting concept, which allows non-expert users to compose new or alter existing analysis
procedures. With this framework, routine work is delegated to the computer.
The chapter is organized in the following way. First, the typical analysis flow is exam-
ined in order to identify drawbacks of existing solutions. Subsequently, the novel concept
is detailed. Finally, circuit analyses using an experimental implementation of the analysis
framework are demonstrated.
6.1 Typical Analysis Flow
The optimization of OFET devices and circuits based on circuit simulation is an iterative
process. In practical research work, the process typically consists of the following steps (cf.
Fig. 1.1):
1. Transistor models are extracted from the measured curves.
2. Netlists are generated. These contain test circuit, devices under test, and the necessary
models. The user has to compile the respective circuits into a netlist and to include the
model descriptions.
122 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
3. The circuit simulator is executed, which interprets the netlists, simulates the circuits,
and reports calculated results.
4. The analysts (researchers or computer programs) interpret the results and generate data
sheets from the information. They ask questions like the following:
2 What is the performance of a given device generation in logic circuits?
2 Which device and circuit parameters define performance (e.g. robustness against
interfering noise, circuit speed, power consumption, etc.)?
2 Where have the parameters to be pushed to in order to increase the circuit perfor-
mance?
Answering these questions involves variation of the circuit and model parameters so
that different device generations and parameter sets can be taken into account.
Existing software tools can cover the individual aspects of the process. The analysis cycle
is complicated by manually coordinating the steps due to the following reasons:
2 Data have to be transferred between the tools called in the individual operations. Model
sets need to be included into the netlists used in the simulations or circuits have to be
inserted into the testbenches, etc. These processes are time-consuming and error prone.
2 Input data and analysis results have to be preserved in a database in order to document
the analysis process, to record the improvements of a fabrication process, or to support
replay of the analyses. Possibly, many iterations of the analysis are needed so that
preservation of data can quickly get out of hand.
2 The users need to understand numerous tools and data formats. After longer periods of
not working with the analysis tools, this knowledge often has to be reactivated.
The author of this thesis concludes from practical experience that existing tools will fail
to be used in the analysis of OFET-based devices and circuits as long as the following issues
are not resolved:
1. A single software environment is needed. It must be easy to use. The users, who
normally do not work in the domain of circuit simulation, are not interested in learning
to use the individual tools. Instead, they want to focus on getting their results quickly
and in a highly automated way. Therefore, they prefer graphical user interfaces and easy
access to all relevant data and functions.
6.1. Typical Analysis Flow 123
2. The environment must integrate modeling of the transistor devices in an easy-to-use
fashion. Contrary to more traditional semiconductor technologies, vendor-supplied
transistor models do currently not exist in organic electronics. For the user of OFETs,
modeling is therefore most often the starting point of the analysis cycle.
3. The environment must provide automatic generation of test circuits. These test circuits
include e.g. setups for measuring performance figures like noise margin or circuit speed.
4. The environment must provide preconfigured analysis procedures and libraries of pop-
ular logic gates. For the users, it is important to have template setups and gates which
they can reuse and adapt to their special requirements. Otherwise, the users would have
to create the necessary circuits and analysis procedures manually.
5. In the generation of test circuits, transistor models must be easy to replace. There exist
many variations of OFETs (alternate semiconductor / dielectric / electrode materials,
top-gate or bottom-gate topology, etc.) and hence many model types. A generic analysis
tool must therefore manage different model types in all of its analyses. Here, model
management is understood to include the ability to conveniently replace models in test
circuits and analysis setups.
6. The analysis procedures must be easy to adapt to new requirements or to include novel
extraction schemes. Users prefer generic analysis procedures which they can manipu-
late and flexibly extend.
7. In the course of an analysis, model parameters or transistor geometries may have to be
varied. A framework must therefore provide mechanisms to dynamically vary model
and device parameters.
8. The environment must automatically collaborate with a variety of circuit simulators,
i.e. create simulation-ready netlists for the test circuit, execute the target simulators, or
extract the simulation results. This property is highly desirable because many different
simulation tools are available.
Existing tools easily cover individual aspects of the above list. But missing is an inte-
gration framework in which all of these tasks are handled in a coherent fashion. This work
provides the concept for such a framework, which automates the analysis of novel OFET
devices by use of a generic, coherent, and flexible analysis system.
124 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
6.2 Novel Analysis Concept
The discussion in the previous section showed that an analysis flow constructed from tradi-
tional EDA tools suffers from numerous drawbacks. Therefore, a novel analysis concept has
been developed in this work. The concept describes how OFET-related data are stored and
analyses of device performance are carried out. The novelty lies in the unified and object-
oriented organization of data, analysis scripts, and analysis reports.
The concept consists of an interactive modeling and simulation environment, and defines
a set of central ideas:
2 Data Management: All relevant data items used in the analyses are stored in a hier-
archical data tree similar to a directory structure on a computer disk. Data items can
be measurement data, model sets, circuit descriptions, or analysis scripts. Each data
item in the tree can also have a documentation text and user-defined properties. The
hierarchical data tree serves as the analysis database and stores analysis procedures and
libraries of popular logic gates as well as user-supplied measurement data.
2 Modeling System: The modeling of devices is integrated into the framework. Model
sets can be created and altered within the software environment. A standardized mod-
eling interface allows the users to add novel model extractors. This modeling interface
defines how the modeling tools are configured and used.
2 Analysis Control: Users employ analysis scripts to automate the analysis flow. Each
script consists of a sequence of individual analysis steps which can be defined and edited
using a graphical user interface. Parameters of circuits and models can be altered within
the scripting system. Batch-mode analyses with automatic generation and simulation of
different testbenches are possible. A standardized execution interface allows the users
to include novel analysis steps. The execution interface defines the way how an analysis
step is graphically configured and executed.
2 Simulator encapsulation: Circuit simulators are integrated into the analysis concept by
use of standardized simulator interfaces. The interfaces cover netlist generation, sim-
ulator control, and result propagation. This technique is known as simulator encapsu-
lation [145] and has successfully been used in the optimization of circuits. Simulator
encapsulation is highly desirable as only the simulator interface has to be adapted in
order to link a novel circuit simulator to the analysis framework.
The following paragraphs provide a more detailed discussion of the concept.
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 125
6.2.1 Data Management
Efficient data management provides a sensible and easy-to-use way of managing heteroge-
neous sets of data. Efficiency can be reached by using a unified data-management scheme,
i.e. all relevant data objects are stored within a coherent data repository. The analysis cycle
for OFET-based circuits typically includes objects of different types:
1. measurement data,
2. parameter sets for transistor models,
3. logic gates, i.e. circuits,
4. analysis scripts.
In the concept presented here, data are organized by storing all objects in a single hierar-
chical structure. This structure can be accessed by the user in the form of a hierarchical data
tree. Hierarchical in this context means that objects can contain other objects. Drawbacks of a
hierarchical data tree are that more efficient data management schemes which are utilized by
database management systems (DBMS) are not available, memory consumption is increased,
and searching the whole tree can take a long time. On the other hand, the advantage of the
hierarchical tree is that data can easily be structured, i.e. grouped, according to the desires of
the users. This increases flexibility and ease of use because the users can organize and handle
the data according to their needs.
In order to facilitate use of the hierarchical data tree, it can e.g. be represented in a graph-
ical way similar to the files of a computer disk by the file browsers of popular operating
systems. With a graphical user interface, non-expert users do not need to learn the commands
of a system which works with batch-mode command scripts or an interactive command line.
Moreover, most computer users are accustomed to the concept of a graphical file browser. The
principal idea of the concept is to organize data in a hierarchical tree of different items so to
cover all important data-management aspects of the analysis cycle.
Fig. 6.1 shows an example of a hierarchical data tree. Data types defined by the concept
are:
2 analysis (icon )
An object of this type represents an analysis procedure, which defines the individual
steps in the characterization of circuits and models. In the analysis concept, analysis
procedures are represented by tree-form scripts implementing execution trees. Details
about tree-form scripts and execution trees are provided in Section 6.2.3.
126 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
Fig. 6.1: Example of a hierarchical data tree.
2 circuit (icon )
An object of this type represents a circuit useful for testbench generation. The object
holds information on the structure and connectivity of the circuit. The structure defines
which devices are present in the circuit and how they are connected with each other.
Netlists or schematics are possible. The connectivity defines which terminals of a circuit
to the outer world are present in the circuit, their types (input, output, bidirectional, or
supply node), which parameters exist for the circuit (e.g. the dimensions of the critical
devices), and their default values.
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 127
2 container (icon )
This object type enables the introduction of data hierarchy by acting as a folder into
which other objects can be grouped. It is comparable to a directory in a file system of a
computer.
2 model (icon )
An object of the type “model” is used for representing a transistor model in the analysis
system. The simplest form of a model is a property list in which the individual entries
denote the parameters of the model. The model can be bound to a model extractor,
which is used for deriving the model parameters.
2 wavevar (icon )
“wavevar” objects contain waveform data like measured current curves, x-axis values
in simulations or measurements, etc. This kind of object is generated when a data file is
imported or simulation results are stored in the data tree.
2 wavefile (icon )
A wavefile object is created when a data file containing measurement or simulation
results is imported into the data tree. The wavefile object represents the imported data
file and contains either wavevars or again wavefiles.
In order to provide more-detailed descriptions of objects, meta data can be assigned to
objects. Meta data are a form of additional data describing the object [151] they belong to.
In the concept detailed in this chapter, meta data are used for providing classification and
documentation of objects. The following forms of meta data are used:
2 A documentation text which is attached to an object so to document its use or method
of creation in a form easily readable by humans.
2 Property lists provide tables with pairs of names and values where additional object-
related data can be stored in a more formal manner than in a documentation text. This
allows computer routines to directly access these tables. Therefore, search queries like
“list all objects with the property level > 1” get possible. The property list can e.g.
contain the creation date of the object, the file from which the object was created, or in
the case of transistors, the width and length of the device, etc.
Using a combination of documentation text and property lists allows a thorough descrip-
tion in a form easily readable by humans and machines. Fig. 6.2 sketches the relationship
between objects and associated data.
128 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
object
(text, ...)
documentation
value prop name
properties
type−specific data
e.g. waveform,
netlist, etc.
Fig. 6.2: Data association for objects: documentation, properties, type-specific data (wave-
forms, netlists, etc.).
6.2.2 Modeling System
In the analysis framework, models are represented by objects of type “model”. These objects
use model extractors for extracting model parameters from measured curves. In this work, a
model extractor is regarded as a software module used for configuring a model object. The
model extractor can be a piece of software entirely contained within the framework core or
an interface to an external program which carries out the actual parameter extraction. The
generator provides a dialog in which the extraction process is set up, carried out, and possibly
repeated later on with different settings.
Standardized Modeling Interface
Model extractors are used for transforming measured device characteristics into parameter
sets for a special model. They are realized in the analysis framework by use of dynamically
loadable modules. Each module provides a standardized function to create a graphical dialog
used for creating or modifying a model set. The details of the mechanisms are specific to the
actual implementation of the analysis framework and will not be discussed here.
6.2.3 Analysis Control
Automatic device and circuit analysis is an important aspect of the analysis cycle. The task
is handled by analysis control. In this work, the term analysis control refers to the definition
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 129
and execution of analysis procedures.
Analysis Steps
The idea in this work is to decompose analysis procedures into smaller steps so to increase the
ability to modify them as opposed to monolithic analyses used e.g. in the cell characterization
tool Autochar (see Section 5.5.1). The individual analysis steps can be as simple as the def-
inition of variables or as complex as the determination of the static noise margin. During its
execution in the course of the analysis, each step takes input parameters and generates output
parameters (see runtime data under the heading Analysis Sequencing on p. 130). The output
parameters can be propagated to successive steps so to create dependent steps. By doing so,
constructs like the determination of rise and fall times get possible where the attainable volt-
age levels for the logic states are derived in one simulation step and propagated to the actual
timing simulation.
Each step is configured using a graphical dialog. An example of such a dialog in an
implementation of the concept is shown in Fig. 6.3, where a step to derive high/low voltage
and other important parameters from a gate’s voltage transfer characteristic is configured.
Fig. 6.3: Configuration dialog for an analysis step.
By subdividing analysis procedures into smaller steps, questions like “How does the
threshold voltage influence the static noise margin and the rise time?” can be answered. This
is carried out by composing an analysis procedure that consists of a sweep of the threshold
voltage. The sweep carries out the extraction of static noise margin and the rise time (two sub-
ordinate steps of the sweep). In this way, circuit characterization can be used as an exploration
tool.
It can be argued that circuit simulators already provide features for this kind of analysis.
Sophisticated SPICE simulators already contain powerful sweep directives and batch-mode
130 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
simulations. However, users of these tools have to manually write the testbenches and post-
process the results.
By subdividing analysis procedures into smaller steps, more time is needed to configure
the numerous steps. Consequently, providing specialized analysis programs for each kind of
analysis scenario seems to be more convenient. These programs can contain all necessary
configuration items in one dialog and carry out the simulations as predefined by the program
developer. Moreover, utilization of an external simulator can be optimized for maximum
simulation speed because the analysis programs already know in which way the simulator is
used. While this approach is comfortable if only one analysis has to be carried out all the
time, it is not very flexible. If a user wants to change the analysis flow then reprogramming
might be necessary or the original program design has to foresee all sensible modifications to
the standard flow.
Therefore, subdivision of the analysis procedure into smaller steps has been selected in this
work to implement the analysis flow. Existing analyses can be reused as templates for other
analyses. Moreover, no reprogramming of the underlying computer program is necessary if
smaller modifications are introduced to the flow. Analyses can also be cascaded into more
powerful extraction schemes.
Analysis Sequencing
Control of the analysis flowtakes place by defining a sequence of analysis steps to be executed.
The sequence is comparable to a computer script carrying out the individual steps and is stored
in the data tree in the form of an object called “analysis”. In this way, analyses can be treated
like normal data, i.e. can get documentation text or property lists and are stored together with
the data they are used for.
Individual steps of an analysis sequence can propagate results to successive steps by use
of runtime data. Runtime data is a form of dynamic data which only exists during execution
of the analysis procedure. The individual types of runtime data are:
2 Dynamic variables are used for propagating results between analysis steps or for varying
parameters.
2 Dynamic models are dynamic copies of models defined in the data tree. Their purpose
is to allow temporary variations of model parameters in analyses. If e.g. the threshold
voltage of a model shall be varied in an analysis, a dynamic copy of the model in the
data tree is generated and the parameter “threshold voltage” of this dynamic model is
changed in the variation.
2 Dynamic circuits operate similarly to dynamic models. They are temporary copies of
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 131
circuits defined in the data tree. Their introduction allows varying parameters of a circuit
without affecting the original circuit definition.
2 Analysis results are the data vectors displayed at the end of the analysis. They are
generated and populated during runtime of the analysis.
The analysis sequences are formulated by tree-formscripts which define the actual flow. “tree-
form” means that the steps in the sequence are organized as hierarchical trees where the in-
dividual items are described in textual form. Tree-form analysis scripts will also be denoted
as execution trees in the following. The term “script” refers to the fact that the sequences are
interpreted step by step each time the analysis process is started. The user creates the flow by
instantiating steps in the execution tree. Fig. 6.4 shows a schematic example of an execution
tree.
The individual steps are executed in the order they appear in the execution tree. Subtrees
are executed before the step following their parent is processed. In Fig. 6.4, steps 3.1 and 3.2
are executed before step 4 is done. Step 3 could be a variable sweep from one value to another
or an optimization loop, etc.
step 2
step 3
step 4
step 3.1
step 3.2
analysis
step 1
Fig. 6.4: Schematic example of a simple execution tree for an analysis procedure.
With tree-form scripting, analysis procedures can be expressed in an easy-to-read fashion.
Owing to its graphical user interface, tree-form scripting enables non-expert users to compose
their own procedures without the need to get acquainted with a new scripting language. The
tree-like form is an intermediate form between a true programming language using text scripts
and a graphical programming language oriented toward data-flow modeling.
Aprogramming language using only textual scripts provides the most powerful description
as the procedures and functions can flexibly be combined. Nevertheless, maintenance and
further development of text scripts requires programming skill and adherence to certain coding
132 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
styles, i.e. consistent use of names for functions and variables, intense use of comments, etc.
Textual scripting languages include Perl, Tcl, Python, etc.
Data-flow languages describe programs by a graphical flow chart. The chart consists of
functional elements in the form of icons or labeled blocks and connections between them.
The program developer defines the required function by drawing the elements and connections
between them. The connections determine the data flow. Examples of data-flow languages are
LabVIEW from National Instruments [152], Simulink from The Mathworks [153], or Caslon
Flow from Gradual Software [154]. With data-flow languages, non-expert users can develop
programs by drawing flow charts. Moreover, the program already documents the flow in an
intuitive way and visualizes the propagation of data. On the other hand, composing constructs
like switch operations between different options can be difficult to draw. In addition to that,
reading complex flow charts can also be troublesome.
Consideration of both styles (text-based coding and drawing of flow charts) led to the ap-
plication of an intermediate style, viz. tree-form scripting. The flow elements are described
in textual form but are configured using graphical dialogs. The operation sequence is de-
scribed by an execution tree. With this scripting style, the scripting environment is easier to
implement and to use than a text-based scripting system as non-expert users can configure
and alter programs. For small modifications or rearrangements of steps, tree-form scripting is
the most compact description scheme. Moreover, the analysis concept already uses tree-form
descriptions to hierarchically structure analysis data in the data tree. On the other hand, the
propagation of results from step to step is less intuitive as in data-flow programming. Results
are propagated between steps by use of variables. A step “determine high voltage” would
write its results to the variable “vhigh”. A step “determine delay time” could then refer to this
variable in order to configure the input waveform needed to extract reasonable delay times.
The mechanisms of using variables are hidden in the configuration dialogs of the individual
steps. The variables are more difficult to track when compared to textual programs or data-
flow drawings. For small programs, tracking the propagation of results is not difficult, but for
larger projects, this might confuse users.
The behavior of the individual analysis steps is programmed in the underlying analysis
framework. Basic analysis steps are:
2 Definition of a variable – defines a variable to be used in subsequent steps. The variable
exists as runtime data until the analysis is finished.
2 Definition of a model – defines a dynamic model to be used in subsequent steps. The
model exists only during runtime of the analysis. It can be used for changing parameters
of existing models in the data tree without affecting the original model.
2 Definition of a circuit – defines a dynamic circuit for use in subsequent steps. The circuit
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 133
exists only during runtime of the analysis. It can be used for temporarily changing
parameters of existing circuits in the data tree.
2 Definition of default connectivity – defines what to do with unused terminals in one
of the testbench-generating steps. This directive tells the testbench generator which
values to assign to supply-voltage terminals or to unused input pins of the circuit under
characterization.
2 Sweep a variable – creates a variable, assigns the starting value to it and executes all
steps subordinate to the sweep. After all subordinate steps have been carried out, the
next sweep value is assigned to the variable, the subordinate steps are again carried out,
etc.
2 Accumulate a vector – creates a data vector for reporting at the end of the analysis.
More sophisticated analysis steps which also involve execution of external simulators include
for example:
2 Analyze the voltage-transfer characteristic of a gate – determine the nominal voltage
for logic high/low state and critical gain of a logic gate. At runtime, this step constructs
a testbench which contains the gate under characterization as a series of two instances
in a chain. During execution of the step, a simulator is called to analyze the testbench.
The nominal voltage levels and the critical gain are extracted and reported in runtime
variables. Fig. 6.5 sketches the testbench and the expected simulation results for the
VTC determination.
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o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
input voltage
DUT DUT
V
out1 V
out2
V
in
V
out1
V
in
V
out2
Fig. 6.5: Schematic of a testbench and expected simulation results for VTC determination.
The circles in the voltage plot denote the voltages for the logic states low, unstable, and high.
DUT is the device under test, i.e. the gate to be analyzed.
134 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
2 Analyze ring oscillator – determine the oscillation frequency of a ring oscillator as well
as rise and fall times. A testbench is generated in which the individual gate is mounted
multiple times so to form the ring oscillator. This testbench is used for simulating
the oscillation frequency and extracting timing information of the ring oscillator (see
Fig. 6.6 for a sketch of testbench and expected simulation results).
0 time
o
s
c
i
l
l
a
t
i
o
n

v
o
l
t
a
g
e
DUT DUT DUT
V
RO
V
Low
V
RO
V
High
Fig. 6.6: Testbench and expected simulation results for analysis of ring oscillators. DUT is
the device under test, i.e. the gate to be analyzed.
2 Determine on and off currents of a transistor device. A single transistor is simulated
and analyzed in order to get on and off currents. The off current is regarded as the
current at maximum magnitude of drain-source voltage and minimum magnitude of
gate-source voltage. The on current is regarded as the current at maximum magnitude
of drain-source voltage and maximum magnitude of gate-source voltage.
2 Determine maximum-square noise margin – extract the maximum square representing
the noise margin of a gate. Details about the determination of the maximum-square
noise margin are presented in Section 5.3.4.
Standardized Execution Interface
Analysis steps are realized in the analysis framework by use of dynamically loadable software
modules. Each module provides a standardized function to create an object-oriented repre-
sentation of the analysis step. The representation contains interface functions to load/setup,
graphically edit, execute, and save the analysis step. The details of the mechanism are specific
to the actual implementation of the analysis framework and will not be detailed here.
6.2. Novel Analysis Concept 135
6.2.4 Simulator Encapsulation
The analysis framework links to circuit simulators by use of simulator encapsulation [145].
This technique refers to the integration of simulators into a design framework in a generic way.
The simulation tool collaborates with the framework through an abstraction layer. This layer
defines a generic interface between the framework and target simulators. When a simulator
shall be integrated, no changes to either the framework core or the simulator are necessary.
Instead, only the interface between them is adapted. The interface provides the following
features:
2 Netlist generation – A generic description of the circuit structure is passed to the in-
terface. The underlying interface code then constructs the appropriate netlist for the
simulator.
2 Simulator control – The simulation process is initiated.
2 Result propagation – The relevant information in the output files of the simulation pro-
cess is transferred to the framework core.
Reasons for introducing simulator encapsulation are:
2 Different research teams utilize different simulator tools. The implementation of the
UML-VRH model disclosed in [65] (see Section 3.2.4.3) employs the circuit simulator
Eldo and models devices with Verilog-A, the analog subset of Verilog-AMS. Model-
ing in this work was done with the open-source circuit simulator tclspice [155]. This
simulator resorts to the SPICE extension XSPICE [93] and model descriptions com-
piled from C code. In order to be a generic tool, the framework has to disregard the
peculiarities of the individual simulators and has to use a generic interface.
2 Different simulators use different directives to include models. Mentor Graphics’ Eldo
uses the y directive to include external models, tclspice and all other XSPICE deriva-
tives use the a directive, while e.g. Tanner T-Spice resorts to the x (or subcircuit)
directive. These differences have to be dealt with in the generation of netlists.
2 Some simulators like the original Berkeley SPICE / XSPICE suite do not support param-
eterizable subcircuits. These are nonetheless needed to provide variation of logic gates
in the course of analyses. The netlist generators of the encapsulation interface have
to translate these parameterized subcircuits into representations suitable for Berkeley
Spice / XSPICE.
2 If modeling systems like VHDL-AMS, Verilog-AMS, or Saber/MAST are used, netlists
are composed in a way different from SPICE. The netlist generator must also deal with
these modeling languages.
136 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
2 Each simulator has its proprietary format for simulation files. The respective interface
must translate the data into a format readable by the framework core.
In an implementation of simulator encapsulation, a generic interface is defined. Interac-
tion with simulators takes place by use of this interface. A dedicated implementation of the
interface is provided for each simulator. Netlists are expressed in an intermediate form by
routines of the framework core and transferred to the simulator interface, which in turn gener-
ates the real netlist fed into the simulator. With this two-step approach, simulators can easily
be replaced by other tools. On the other hand, the process of netlist generation is prolonged
because the description has to be translated into the target format.
Experimental tests with a prototype implementation of the framework showed that this
translation can affect the time needed to carry out the analysis. This behavior can prolong the
analysis if small circuits are simulated numerous times with tiny variations. A scenario of this
kind is the numerical optimization of circuits. However, the translation process can be sped
up by appropriate programming techniques. Therefore, performance issues are not a major
concern. Moreover, users will not accept the framework if it works with only one particular
simulation tool. Therefore, the advantages of direct netlist generation were sacrificed to a
more flexible simulator interface.
6.3 Analysis Examples
The purpose of the following sections is to demonstrate the application of the analysis frame-
work in the exploration of OFET-based logic circuits. Basic logic gates will be evaluated
in the examples using an experimental implementation of the methodology named DCI (De-
sign and Circuit Investigator). The simulations are based on the model parameters derived
in Section 4.3.6. The extraction of performance figures (operational speed, attainable volt-
age values for logic levels, and noise margin) of inverters, NOR gates, and ring oscillators
in current-source configuration is demonstrated. The following definitions for voltage levels
representing logic states will be used:
2 high – The stable voltage level closer to the supply voltage (V
DD
).
2 low – The stable voltage level closer to zero.
6.3.1 Analysis of an Inverter in Current-Source Configuration
A popular circuit technology implementing logic gates is the current-source configuration
(cf. Fig. 5.1). Currently, it is the method of choice in order to implement OFET-based logic
circuits. The load element of logic gates in current-source configuration is a transistor with
6.3. Analysis Examples 137
both gate and source connected to the output. The ratio between the load transistor M
L
and
the driving transistor M
D
as well as the supply voltage can be varied in order to get optimal
gate performance in terms of circuit speed and robustness.
Analysis Objective
The influence of the geometry ratio between load and driving transistor on the robustness (i.e.
noise margin) and speed of logic gates in current-source configuration shall be investigated.
Circuit speed will be measured by the oscillation frequency of a ring oscillator and the rise and
fall times of the output of one of its inverters. This approach requires more computation than
traditional timing extraction schemes like simulating the response to a step pulse but results
in more realistic waveform shapes.
The following settings shall be used in the analyses:
2 an inverter with load transistor in current-source configuration,
2 both load and driving transistor are p-type conducting and work with the same parameter
set,
2 channel length L = 5 µm,
2 channel width of driving transistor W
D
= 1500 µm,
2 channel width of load transistor W
L
= r × W
D
, where r is the ratio between the width
of the load transistor and the driving transistor,
2 supply voltage V
DD
= -20 V.
Analysis Scripting
The session to analyze inverters in DCI is depicted in Fig. 6.7. The left-hand side of the image
shows the session database. The right-hand side depicts an analysis script for the determina-
tion of robustness and circuit speed for inverters with different width ratios. The database
contains measured devices (in the folder Devices, not expanded in the screenshot), logic gates
in current-source and other configurations (folder Circuits, sub-folder for gates in current-
source configuration expanded), and numerous DCI analysis scripts in the folder Analyses.
The analysis scripts in the example all have names starting with “Analyze VTC for CS-Load
with ...” and are all variations of the same analysis with different models to use in the sim-
ulations. The model configurations used in the analyses will be explained under the heading
“Impact of Modeling” in the following. The depicted analysis consists of sweeping the ratio
between the load and driving transistor and calculating the following performance figures:
138 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
2 Nominal voltage levels for logic high and logic low using a pair of identical inverters.
High and low correspond to the stable intersections between the output of the second
inverter and the input voltage.
2 Maximum negative and critical gain of the voltage-transfer curve. The critical gain is
measured at the intersection between the input voltage and output voltage of an inverter.
2 Oscillation frequency of a 15-stage ring oscillator.
2 20% / 80% rise and fall times of an individual stage within the ring oscillator. For
calculation of the 20% / 80% thresholds, the voltage swing between the nominal high
and low voltages is used. These voltages were derived above.
2 Unity-gain and maximum-square noise margin.
Fig. 6.7: DCI session to analyze the performance of inverters in current-source configuration.
6.3. Analysis Examples 139
Impact of Modeling
In order to test the influence of inaccuracies of modeling, four combinations of models are
investigated in the analysis:
1. one single table model for driving and load transistor (called combination with table
model, table-based model, or simply otab in the following),
2. one single Linvar model for driving and load transistor (called all-Linvar combination
in the following),
3. the Linvar model for the driving transistor and a Level-1 model exactly mapping the
drain-current curve for zero gate-source voltage (called Linvar/Level-1 combination in
the following),
4. the Level-1 model for the drain-current curve at zero bias and a Level-1 model approx-
imating the output characteristics in the range of zero to -20 V of gate voltage (called
Level-1/Level-1 combination in the following).
The table model was derived by tabulating the original extraction values for K
P
, V
T
, and λ
in the Linvar extraction in Section 4.3.6 and using a linear interpolation for the V
GS
-dependent
values. Model data are listed in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1: Parameter set for table model.
V
GS
[V ] K
P
[A/V
2
] V
T
[V] λ [V
−1
]
0 9.9393e-13 8.0 0.0341730670859
-4 1.3613e-11 1.8 0.0125761040059
-8 2.5627e-11 0.5 0.00735829204921
-12 3.4968e-11 -0.2 0.00542531729999
-16 4.4147e-11 -1.0 0.00484211159415
-20 5.0833e-11 -1.6 0.00453755973153
The parameter set for the Linvar model is KP
0
= 8 pA/V
2
, f
k
= -2 pA/V
3
, V
T0
= 2.4 V,
f
v
= 0.2, λ
0
= 50 · 10
−3
V
−1
, f
l
= 0 V
−2
, R

par
= 10 TΩm. The Level-1 parameters for
the load transistor are K
P
= 0.994 pA/V
2
, V
T
= 8 V, λ = 34.2 · 10
−3
V
−1
. These values
correspond to the line for zero V
GS
in Table 6.1. Level-1 parameters for the driving transistor
are K
P
= 51.6 pA/V
2
, V
T
= -2.4 V, and λ = 8.3 · 10
−3
V
−1
. They were derived using least-
squares-fitting. All models used constant gate-drain and gate-source capacitors equivalent to
1
2
· C
spec
· W · L with C
spec
= 0.1 µF/cm
2
. It is acknowledged that this kind of capacitance
modeling only coarsely describes the capacitive behavior of real devices. More thorough
modeling will also take into account the non-linear nature of device capacitances and the
contribution of layout-related parasitic capacitances.
140 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
Analysis Results
The set of curves resulting from the analysis is depicted in Fig. 6.8, which also shows the VTC
plot for a width ratio of 8. With the exception of the Level-1/Level-1 combination, the logic
levels for the different model combinations roughly correspond. Owing to the fact that the
least-squares fit for the Level-1 parameters of the driving transistor led to a negative threshold
voltage V
T
= -2.4 V, the Level-1/Level-1 setup realizes an enhancement/depletion gate leading
to high levels in the range of the supply voltage (≈ −20 V). The critical gains derived by the
all-Linvar combination and Linvar/Level-1 combination also show agreement. The circuit
combination using the table-based model deviates from the other two combinations for ratios
below 6. For the Level-1/Level-1 combination, there is a surge in critical gain due to the
steeper transition between high and low (see Fig. 6.8f). Moreover, the critical-gain point is
situated within the region of steep transition so that the gain is considerably increased.
For the maximum-square noise margin (Fig. 6.8e), the Level-1/Level-1 combination leads
to a considerably larger noise margin than the other combinations. Here, the VTC curve
is shifted to more negative values. The table-based simulation also deviates from the other
two combinations by predicting zero noise margin for ratios of 4 and below. This can be
understood by inspecting the VTC curves in Fig. 6.8f, where the table-model VTC deviates
from the other VTCs in the range close to zero input voltage. There, the high level of the table-
model VTCdoes not start to saturate and shows some irregularities at its fix-point (intersection
with the dotted line where the critical gain is measured, see Section 5.3.5).
Fig. 6.8a+b show the resulting oscillation frequencies and rise/fall times for the transient
simulations of the ring oscillators. Rise and fall times were measured between the 20% and
80% points of the voltage swing from low to high voltage.
The oscillation frequencies correspond to the stage delay t
D
according to t
D
= 1/(2nf
RO
),
where n is the number of inverters in the ring oscillator and f
RO
is the oscillation frequency.
Considerable deviations between the different modeling combinations can be seen. More-
over, the table-based simulation only yields oscillation at width ratios of 6 and higher. This
corresponds with the observation that there is no noise margin available for the table-based
combination for ratios below 6. The differences in oscillation frequency might exist because
the Linvar model predicts currents which are up to 20% below the measured values for small
|V
GS
| values. Therefore, this combination yields lowest speed because the load transistor sinks
less current. For the Level-1/Level-1 combination on the other hand, drain currents of the load
transistor are higher so that higher oscillation frequencies can be expected.
6.3. Analysis Examples 141
b)
d)
f)
a)
c)
e)
rise
fall
−20.0
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
−4.0
−2.0
0.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
h
i
g
h
/
l
o
w

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.0
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
m
a
x
.

s
q
u
a
r
e

n
o
i
s
e

m
a
r
g
i
n

[
V
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.5
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
−4.0
−2.0
0.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
5.0m
10.0m
15.0m
20.0m
25.0m
30.0m
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.0m
input voltage [V] −−>
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y

[
H
z
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
otab
all linvar
linvar+lev1
lev1+lev1
r
i
s
e
/
f
a
l
l

t
i
m
e

[
s
]



>
c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l

g
a
i
n

[
V
/
V
]



>
o
u
t
p
u
t

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
−20 −15 −10 −5 0
0.0
−2.0
−4.0
−6.0
−8.0
−10.0
−12.0
−14.0
−16.0
−18.0
−20.0
ratio width load/drive = 4
Fig. 6.8: Simulated data for an inverter in current-source configuration: a) ring oscillator
frequency, b) rise/fall times at a particular stage in the ring oscillator, c) nominal high and low
voltages, d) critical gain g
crit
, e) maximum-square noise margins, and f) VTC plot for width
ratio of 4. Each plot contains curves for different combinations of simulation models.
142 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
Analysis Conclusions
By observing the plots in Fig. 6.8, a width ratio of 6 can be identified as an acceptable com-
promise between circuit speed and robustness on one hand and area usage of the logic gates
on the other hand. A further increase in ratio beyond 6 will also increase the oscillation fre-
quency. However, frequency and nominal voltage levels only moderately improve.
Comparison between Gain and Noise Margin
A comparison of Fig. 6.8a and Fig. 6.8d shows that the presence of an oscillation (i.e. a robust
or regenerating operation of inverters in a chain) correlates with |g
crit
| > 1. Therefore, it is
interesting to inspect g
crit
in order to derive the robustness of a logic gate. In literature on
noise margin calculations, a high |g
max
| is also used as a criterion which reflects robustness
of a circuit (e.g. [125]). The relationship between critical gain, maximum negative gain, and
noise margin can be compared using the plots in Fig. 6.9.
a) b)
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
g
a
i
n

[
]

&

n
o
i
s
e

m
a
r
g
i
n

[
V
]
max−square noise margin
−15.0
−10.0
−5.0
0.0
5.0
10.0
15.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
unity gain
max−square
n
o
i
s
e

m
a
r
g
i
n

[
V
]



>
W
L
/W
D
|g
crit
|
W
L
/W
D
|g
max
|
Fig. 6.9: Simulation data for noise margin analysis: a) magnitude of critical and most-negative
gain together with maximum-square noise margin, b) unity-gain and maximum-square noise
margin. Simulations were done with Linvar/Level-1 combination for driving and load transis-
tor.
The magnitude of the critical gain displays a behavior similar to the maximum-square
noise margin while the magnitude of the maximum negative gain vs. the ratio develops differ-
ently. Hence, designs optimizing g
crit
lead to different results than designs optimizing g
max
.
The unity-gain noise margin also considerably differs from the maximum-square data and
even yields negative values (for the low level). Again, designs optimizing the unity-gain noise
margin and the maximum-square noise margin will yield different results. The unity-gain
6.3. Analysis Examples 143
method easily leads to large noise margins for the logic high level while negative (i.e. nonex-
istent) noise margins for the logic low level might occur, even for circuits with a critical gain
|g
crit
| > 1 and existing maximum-square noise margin. The surge in unity-gain noise margin
for a ratio of four is due to the fact that for smaller ratios, only one unity-gain point exists.
Therefore, the noise margins get very small.
When inspecting g
crit
and g
max
, these two values strongly depend on the granularity of the
VTC curves from which they are calculated. The two gain values are numerically calculated,
i.e. by finite differences, and therefore strongly depend on the step size between neighboring
values of the VTC. This leads to the requirement that step sizes should be as small as possible,
e.g. 0.1 V.
Impact of DCI
The analyses presented so far can also be carried out using existing circuit simulators alone.
However, without an integration environment like DCI, the users are required to create and
update the testbenches by hand and to configure batch scripts controlling the simulation pro-
cess. Some simulation environments feature the use of scripting systems, e.g. the original
SPICE3 distribution from the University of Berkeley, the simulation environment Synopsys
SaberDesigner, or the simulation tool SimPilot from Mentor Graphics. However, these tools
do generally not provide full transparency between different simulation engines. Moreover,
these systems do not automatically generate the required models or testbenches. On the other
hand, cell characterization packages generate testbenches and process simulation results, but
they generally do not explore more basic performance figures like static noise margin or the
critical gain, or provide heterogeneous analysis plans.
DCI interacts with different simulators, creates analysis testbenches as needed and com-
bines transistor modeling, model and circuit management, analysis configuration, and extrac-
tion of performance figures within a single and interactive user interface. Device and circuit
information, analysis instructions, and analysis results are treated as a unit. Moreover, the
users can easily manipulate the complete set of data and scripts.
6.3.2 Analysis of NOR-Gates in Current-Source Configuration
Inverters alone will not make up useful circuits. More complex gates like NORs are required.
The schematic of a NOR gate with the load transistor in current-source configuration is de-
picted in Fig. 6.10. The gate consists of two driving transistors M
D1
and M
D2
in parallel and
a load transistor M
L
in current-source configuration. The driving transistors are controlled by
the two inputs V
in1
and V
in2
, respectively. For NOR3 gates in current-source configuration, a
third driving transistor M
D3
would be added in parallel to M
D1
and M
D2
.
144 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
M
L
M
D1
M
D2
V
out
V
in2
V
in1
V
DD
Fig. 6.10: Schematic of a two-input NOR with load transistor in current-source configuration.
Analysis Objective
A simple analysis of a two-and a three-input NOR with a load transistor in current-source
configuration shall be carried out. The driving transistors shall have identical widths as defined
by W
D1
= W
D2
= W
D
. The width of the load transistor M
L
shall be varied with respect to
W
D
so that W
L
= r · W
D
. In the course of the analysis, the VTC and transient behavior is
inspected by the methods already presented in Section 6.3.1. One input shall be used for the
characterization while the nominal low voltage V
low
shall excite the remaining input(s). V
low
shall also be varied.
Analysis Scripting
The analysis session to analyze NORs in DCI is similar to the inverter-related session depicted
in Fig. 6.7. Differences are the use of NOR2 or NOR3 gates as circuits under test and terminal
“in1” as characterization input. The other inputs “in2” and “in3” (if available) are set to a value
V
low
using the “define connectivity” instruction. V
low
is added as a second parameter to sweep,
i.e. in an outer loop.
Analysis Results
The results of the analysis are presented in Fig. 6.11. For the calculations, the transistor model
from Section 4.3.6 was used. The data demonstrates that the anticipated low levels strongly
influence the choice of W
L
. The analysis can be used for finding the maximum tolerable low
level |V
Low
| for a particular design. This voltage depends on device parameters but also on
the fan-in, i.e. the number of inputs of a gate. This is demonstrated in Fig. 6.12, where a two-
input NOR gate and a three-input NOR gate with identical transistor dimensions are compared
6.3. Analysis Examples 145
at a fixed supply voltage of -20 V and a low voltage V
Low
= -2 V.
−3 V
−4 V
−3 V
−4 V
−3 V
−4 V
−3 V
−4 V
−4 V −3 V
−2 V
rise
fall
a)
c)
b)
d)
NOR2
INV
2.0m
4.0m
6.0m
8.0m
10.0m
12.0m
14.0m
16.0m
18.0m
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.0m
−3.5
−3.0
−2.5
−2.0
−1.5
−1.0
0.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
−0.5
−20.0
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
−4.0
−2.0
0.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
h
i
g
h
/
l
o
w

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y

[
H
z
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
r
i
s
e
/
f
a
l
l

t
i
m
e

[
s
]



>
c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l

g
a
i
n

[
V
/
V
]



>
V
low
= -2 V
V
low
= -2 V
V
low
= -2 V
V
low
= -2 V
Fig. 6.11: Simulated data for inverters and NOR2 gates with load transistor in current-source
configuration: a) ring oscillator frequency, b) rise/fall times, c) nominal high and low voltages,
d) critical gain. The second input of the NOR gate was biased with V
low
= -2/-3/-4 V.
Analysis Conclusions
The simulation results in Fig. 6.11 and Fig. 6.12 show that the fan-in (FI) strongly influences
the attainable circuit speed and high levels. Increasing the width ratio of NOR gates does
not compensate for the detrimental effect of FI in comparison to the simple inverter. For the
transistor type used in this section, NOR2 gates should have a ratio of at least 8 and NOR3
gates of at least 10.
146 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
a)
c)
rise
fall
b)
d)
NOR3
NOR2
INV
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y

[
H
z
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
2.0m
4.0m
6.0m
8.0m
10.0m
12.0m
14.0m
16.0m
18.0m
20.0m
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
0.0m
−4.0
−3.5
−3.0
−2.5
−2.0
−1.5
−1.0
0.0
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
−0.5
c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l

g
a
i
n

[
V
/
V
]



>
r
i
s
e
/
f
a
l
l

t
i
m
e

[
s
]



>
−20.0
−18.0
−16.0
−14.0
−12.0
−10.0
−8.0
−6.0
−4.0
−2.0
0.0
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
h
i
g
h
/
l
o
w

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
ratio of width load/driving trans. −−>
Fig. 6.12: Comparison of simulation results for inverters and NOR2/NOR3 gates with
V
DD
= -20 V: a) ring oscillator frequency, b) rise/fall times, c) nominal high and low volt-
ages, d) critical gain. Unused inputs were biased with V
low
= -2 V.
6.3.3 Analysis of Parameter-dependent Gate Behavior
In the examples presented so far in Section 6.3, the analysis does not depend on the model
type. The analysis framework can also be used for predicting directions for material opti-
mization. This is carried out by deliberately varying critical model parameters and inspect-
ing resulting circuit performance. In this section, variation results obtained from DCI sim-
ulations are presented. The analysis is carried out using the simplified Linvar model from
Section 4.3.6.
6.3. Analysis Examples 147
Analysis Objective
The proper function of a NORgate at a given supply voltage V
DD
in the presence of off-current
variations shall be verified. This is done using ring oscillator frequencies and the critical gain.
The same ring oscillator configuration as in Section 6.3.1 is used. For demonstration purposes,
the analysis is restricted to the treatment of off-current variations. In principle, analysis of the
impact of on-current variation, threshold-voltage variation, etc. can be done with similar
approaches.
Analysis Scripting
The analysis consists of varying the “off current” I
off
, i.e. the drain current at maximum
magnitude of drain-source voltage and zero gate-source voltage, while keeping constant the
“on current” I
on
, i.e. the drain current at maximummagnitude of drain-source and gate-source
voltage. In the Linvar model, this can be accomplished by varying K
P0
and calculating f
K
in
such a way that K
Pmax
remains unchanged. The corresponding formula for f
k
is
f
k
=
K
Pmax
−K
P0
V
GS,max
, (6.1)
where K
Pmax
is the conductance parameter at the maximum |V
GS,max
|, i.e. the gate-source
voltage for the “on current”.
Fig. 6.13 shows the DCI script for the analysis. The calculations corresponding to (6.1)
are outlined by boxes. The runtime variables kp0 and fk are used as mapping parameters for
the models describing the load and driving transistors, respectively.
Analysis Results
Fig. 6.14 shows the simulation results. The data suggests that I
off
strongly influences critical
gain, circuit speed, and attainable voltage level for logic high. A weaker influence on the low
level is observed because the VTC range for the logic low voltage is relatively large (see e.g.
Fig. 6.8f) so that a degenerate high level is not so crucial for the low level. For a ratio of 6, the
ring oscillator ceases to function with a zero-based process conductance of 12 pA/V
2
, where
the on/ratio dropped to a value below 200.
148 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
Fig. 6.13: DCI script to analyze the influence of off-current variation on circuit performance.
6.4. Chapter Summary 149
c)
a)
d)
b)
150.0
200.0
250.0
300.0
350.0
400.0
450.0
500.0
550.0
600.0
0p 2p 4p 6p 8p 10p 12p 14p 16p
−3.5
−3.0
−2.5
−2.0
−1.5
−1.0
0p 2p 4p 6p 8p 10p 12p 14p 16p
−0.5
ratio = 6
ratio = 8
c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l

g
a
i
n

[
V
/
V
]



>
zero−based process conductance [A/V²] −−>
o
n
/
o
f
f

r
a
t
i
o



>
zero−based process conductance [A/V²] −−>
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
0p
ratio = 6
ratio = 8
−18
−16
−14
−12
−8
−6
−4
−2
0
6p 8p 12p 14p 16p
ratio = 6
ratio = 8
zero−based process conductance [A/V²] −−>
zero−based process conductance [A/V²] −−>
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y

[
H
z
]



>
n
o
m
i
n
a
l

h
i
g
h
/
l
o
w

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
V
]



>
2p 4p 6p 8p 10p 12p 14p 16p
0p 2p 4p
−10
10p
Fig. 6.14: Simulations of two-input NORs with varying zero-based process conductance K
P0
for two ratios (6 and 8): a) critical gain, b) oscillation frequency, c) on/off ratio of the driving
transistor, and d) nominal high and low voltages.
6.4 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, a novel analysis concept was discussed. The basic idea of the concept is to
combine data management, modeling, and circuit investigation in a single analysis framework.
Data is organized in a hierarchical data tree where all items relevant in the analysis (model
data, model sets, circuits, analysis scripts, results) can be stored. Analysis procedures are
described by use of tree-form scripting in which the flow of commands is expressed using
execution trees. Individual actions, i.e. analysis steps, are configured using graphical dialogs.
150 Chapter 6. Analysis Concept
Simulation tools are integrated into the framework via an abstraction layer which provides a
standardized interface.
The analysis framework resolves the following issues with existing tools (cf. p. 122):
1. A single software environment is provided. It is easy to use and allows the users to focus
on carrying out their analysis in a highly automated way. The environment features a
graphical user interface and easy access to all relevant data of the analysis.
2. The environment integrates modeling of transistor devices by use of model extractors,
which are fully integrated into the framework.
3. The environment provides automatic netlist generation for various performance analy-
ses (noise margin detection, circuit speed, etc.).
4. Preconfigured analysis procedures and libraries of logic gates can be stored in the
database of the analysis environment and reused in later analyses.
5. The environment tracks all model references in the circuits used by the netlist generator.
Arbitrary models can be mapped to the references used in these circuits.
6. Analysis procedures are expressed as execution trees where all individual steps can be
configured using graphical dialogs. Different analysis steps exist to define variables,
perform sweeps, map models and circuits, or to carry out sophisticated simulations.
This setup allows flexible manipulation and extension of existing analysis schemes.
7. During the analyses, model and circuit parameters can be flexibly varied so to provide
means of exploring the parameter-dependent behavior of devices and circuits. New
schemes can be defined by composing the respective execution trees.
8. The environment automatically collaborates with external simulators by calling these
tools via an abstraction interface. If the simulation tool is replaced, only an implemen-
tation of the interface to the replacing simulator is required.
151
Chapter 7
Summary and Further Work
This chapter summarizes the work presented in this thesis and discusses possible extensions
to the provided methods, analyses, and tools.
7.1 Summary
Organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) are currently in the early stages of process develop-
ment and device optimization. In the course of optimization, circuit simulation of reasonable
application circuits is a key point in fine-tuning the device parameters of OFET technologies
as it provides insight into the performance potential of given or hypothetical OFET genera-
tions. However, many issues have to be overcome before circuit analysis by circuit simulation
can unfold its full potential in the field of OFET-based circuits. Owing to the early stages in
the field, adequate transistor models, modeling software, and analysis tools (proper perfor-
mance figures, simulation software) dedicated to organic electronics are missing. Therefore, a
computer-aided methodology to analyze the performance of OFETs in logic circuits has been
developed in this work. The basic idea of the concept is to provide an integrated environment
for data management, transistor modeling, and the automatic analysis of benchmark circuits.
In order to implement the methodology, issues in OFET modeling and circuit characterization
were analyzed in this work.
In the part dealing with OFET modeling, a model quality chart was defined so to allow
formal comparison of individual modeling approaches. By using the model quality chart,
model accuracy, proper capacitance modeling, compactness of a model, parameter extraction,
and modeling of stress effects are rated. Existing modeling approaches for OFET devices,
extraction procedures for the respective parameters, and extraction tools were discussed. A
review of the tools showed that they are either very general or specialize on certain models.
The tools cannot visualize which model type can best fit a given transistor. Therefore, users
152 Chapter 7. Summary and Further Work
have to carry out parameter extractions for different model types and have to compare the
resulting model accuracies in order to find the most-appropriate model. In order to facilitate
modeling, a novel extraction scheme called V
Sat
method was therefore developed in this work.
The approach is used for extracting the basic parameters threshold voltage (V
T
), process con-
ductance (K
P
), and channel length modulation (λ) for individual I
D
vs. V
DS
curves. The
V
GS
-dependence of these parameters is used for identifying appropriate model types because
each type has characteristic V
GS
dependences for the basic model parameters. Two models
were presented which directly use the basic parameters extracted with the V
Sat
method: a
table model and an analytic model called Linvar model.
In the part dealing with the circuit characterization, a novel approach was introduced
which defines the robustness of logic gates by inspecting the gain of the fix point in the
voltage-transfer characteristic. An existing method of qualitatively defining the compatibility
of valid logic level ranges was extended to yield noise margins.
Traditional methods of defining static and dynamic performance figures of basic logic
circuits were analyzed. Existing tools for circuit characterization were reviewed. Like in
the case of modeling, these tools are either very general or specialize on a limited set of
applications. Many tools lack automatic testbench generation, inclusion of documentation, or
flexible manipulation of the analysis flow and data. Seamless integration of device modeling
is generally not provided.
In view of the drawbacks of existing modeling and characterization tools, a novel analysis
methodology was developed in this work. The concepts of the methodology are:
2 Transistor modeling and circuit characterization are integrated into a single environ-
ment.
2 The users have direct access to all items needed in the modeling and characterization
steps (models, circuits, waveforms, analysis procedures).
2 The items are organized in a data tree and can be arranged hierarchically according to
the needs of the users.
2 Documentation and a property set can be assigned to each item in the data tree. This
facilitates reuse of existing analyses and backtracking of unexpected results as every
item can be thoroughly described.
2 Automation of the analysis is reached using a graphical scripting concept that allows
non-expert users to compose new or reuse existing analysis procedures.
2 Testbenches to analyze typically used performance figures like circuit speed or robust-
ness, i.e. noise margin, are generated fully automatically. The generation process and
result extraction seamlessly integrate into the graphical scripting concept.
7.2. Further Work 153
Scientific progress could be made in this work in the formal comparison of models and
in the extraction of model parameters by use of the novel V
Sat
method. Novel model types
for OFET devices and a computer-aided methodology for OFET-based modeling and circuit
characterization have been developed.
7.2 Further Work
This section summarizes methodological and practical issues which have not been resolved in
the design of the analysis concept presented in Chapter 6 or its experimental implementation,
DCI.
Modeling
The V
Sat
method could be used for generating a modeling wizard. Such a wizard is a program
which analyzes available transistor data and provides different action routes on the basis of
the analysis results. The wizard will run through a number of steps until a proper model has
been selected and the accompanying parameter sets have been derived. In future work, proper
models could be chosen according to the V
GS
-dependent shapes of the extracted parameters.
The process could be automated by use of shape-detection algorithms. Alternatively, the basic
parameters could be used as initial values for curve fitting.
Another issue is the separation of contact effects during parameter extraction. There have
been reports on the treatment of contact effects in transistor modeling but the extraction pro-
cedures often require interference by the user. Methods like the Unified Extraction Method
(UEM) [56] could help in the extraction of contact effects. Additionally, UEM is also very
interesting for model extraction in general because it is specifically designed for thin-film
transistors. However, UEM requires a sophisticated user interface and a high degree of user
interaction. Here, efficient implementations and automation schemes for selecting appropriate
current-voltage curves could be explored in further work.
Statistical modeling of OFET-based measurement series is currently not included in the
data organization scheme of the analysis concept. However, statistical analyses are important
for more realistic simulations of device performance in integrated circuits.
Capacitance modeling is currently approximated by constant capacitors in the analyses
presented in this work. The influence of nonlinear capacitances on simulation results for ring
oscillators needs to be investigated. Such nonlinear capacitances are included e.g. in models
for variable range hopping [63, 65].
There have been efforts to analytically explain the subthreshold behavior of OFETs [64] in
the framework of variable range hopping. A proper description of this operation region could
154 Chapter 7. Summary and Further Work
improve the accuracy of simulating NAND gates or transmission gates. However, research on
this topic is still in the early stages.
Circuit Characterization
Automatic circuit sizing is currently not addressed by DCI, the experimental implementation
of the methodology. Therefore, it is up to the user to provide sensible transistor configurations
for their circuits under analysis. Generic circuit sizers could be included in the implementation
of the analysis concept by providing appropriate commands to the graphical scripting system.
The special needs and techniques of statistical circuit analysis have currently been disre-
garded in the design of the analysis concept. In spite of that, statistical variation is important
in order to provide realistic data on the performance potentials of OFET-based circuits. Yet,
there is currently only small activity in the research community regarding statistical methods
in the characterization of OFET-based logic circuits. Approaches like the method of equi-
librium zones (MEQ) could be used in conjunction with statistical methods. The statistical
analyses would establish upper and lower bounds for the VTC curves.
155
Appendix A
List of Symbols
Symbol Description Unit
α effective overlap parameter between localized states in
VRH modeling
Å
−1
α power factor for V
GS
-dependence of I
D
in TFT modeling
and UEM

α
sat
saturation variation parameter in Psi-TFT modeling –
β device conductance parameter of a transistor A/V
2
β ratio between effective grain-boundary size and channel
length in Psi-TFT modeling

∆E voltage-dependent contribution to extraction function E in
SJ method
V/A
ε
0
free-space permittivity constant (8.854187818 · 10
−12
) AsV
−1
m
−1
ε
r
relative permittivity of the insulator –
ε
s
relative permittivity of the semiconductor –
η diode ideality factor –
η
i
subthreshold ideality factor in Psi-TFT modeling –
γ power parameter for a-Si TFT mobility –
γ fitting parameter for conductivity in UML modeling –
λ transistor channel-length modulation V
−1
λ
0
constant channel-length modulation in Linvar modeling V
−1
µ carrier mobility cm
2
/V·s
µ
0
upper mobility limit in Psi-TFT modeling cm
2
/V·s
µ
1
low-field mobility in Psi-TFT modeling cm
2
/V·s
µ
eff
effective mobility cm
2
/V·s
156 Appendix A. List of Symbols
Symbol Description Unit
µ
g
grain intrinsic mobility in Psi-TFT modeling cm
2
/V·s
µ
gb
mobility at grain boundary in Psi-TFT modeling cm
2
/V·s
µ
n
mobility of electrons cm
2
/V·s
µ
p
mobility of holes cm
2
/V·s
µ
s
subthreshold mobility in Psi-TFT modeling cm
2
/V·s
σ conductivity S/cm
σ
0
prefactor for conductivity in VRH modeling S/cm
τ(V
GS
) delay function in Dresden modeling –
τ
s
statistical shift parameter for delay function in Dresden
modeling

a mobility factor in Hamburg VRH modeling cm
2
/V·s
a
i
fitting parameter for shape function f in Dresden modeling –
b power factor for mobility in Hamburg VRH modeling –
b
i
fitting parameter for shape function f in Dresden modeling –
B
c
critical number of bonds per site in largest cluster of a per-
colation system

C
GD
gate-drain capacitance F
C
GS
gate-source capacitance F
c
i
fitting parameter for scale function h in Dresden modeling –
C
is
insulator capacitance per unit area F/cm
2
d
i
fitting parameter for scale function h in Dresden modeling –
E(V
GS
−V
T
) extraction function for contact resistance in SJ method V
2
/A
E
0
constant contribution to extraction function E in SJ method V
2
/A
E
b
barrier height at grain boundary in TFT modeling eV
E
C
energy of lower edge of conduction band eV
E
F
Fermi energy eV
E
V
energy of upper edge of valence band eV
f(V ) VTC of gate under consideration in unity gain method V
f(V
DS
) shape function in Dresden Modeling –
F
1
(x) VTC curve of gate under consideration in method of maxi-
mum squares
V
F
2
(y) inverse VTC curve of gate under consideration in method
of maximum squares
V
f
λ
factor for V
GS
-dependent channel-length modulation in Lin-
var modeling
V
−2
157
Symbol Description Unit
f
k
factor for V
GS
-dependent process conductance in Linvar modeling A/V
3
f
T
factor for V
GS
-dependent threshold voltage in Linvar modeling –
G
0
length-independent channel resistance of transistor Ω/m
g
crit
critical gain at fix point of VTC curve of a logic gate –
g
d
drain conductance S
g
m
transconductance S
g
max
maximum negative gain of VTC curve of a logic gate –
H(V
GS
) extraction function in UEM for TFTs V
h(V
GS
) scale function in Dresden modeling –
I current A
I
00
current density in cut-off region of UML modeling A/m
I
a
above-threshold current in Psi-TFT modeling A
I
D
drain current A
I
DMax
maximum current in V
Sat
extraction A
I
DS0
saturation current clear of channel-length modulation in V
Sat
ex-
traction
A
I
DSat
current at transition between linear and saturation region A
I
leak
subthreshold leakage current A
I
S
saturation current of Schottky diode A
I
sub
sub-threshold current in Psi-TFT modeling A
K conductance parameter in UEM extraction for TFTs S
K fitting parameter for mobility in UML modeling S
K

fitting parameter for conductivity in UML modeling S
k
B
Boltzmann constant (1.380662 · 10
−23
) VAs/K
K
G
geometry factor in Dresden modeling A
K
P
process conductance parameter of a transistor A/V
2
KP
0
constant process conductance factor in Linvar modeling A/V
2
K
S
statistical current scale factor in Dresden modeling –
L length of the transistor channel m
L
n
length of electron-accumulating region in ambipolar transistors m
L
p
length of hole-accumulating region in ambipolar transistors m
m power factor for mobility in UML modeling –
m
µ
mobility parameter in Psi-TFT modeling –
158 Appendix A. List of Symbols
Symbol Description Unit
n number of grain boundaries along channel in Psi-TFT modeling –
N
A
doping-induced charge density in UML modeling –
NM
H
noise margin for high level of a logic gate V
NM
L
noise margin for low level of a logic gate V
N
t
density of localized states in VRH modeling cm
−3
p
i
fitting parameter for delay function τ in Dresden modeling –
q elementary charge (1.6021892 · 10
−19
) As
Q
D
drain charge of transistor C
Q
G
gate charge of transistor C
q
i
fitting parameter for delay function τ in Dresden modeling –
Q
S
source charge of transistor C
r step function –
R
C
contact resistance Ω
R
CD
compensation resistance for drain-side contact resistance Ω
R
CS
compensation resistance for source-side contact resistance Ω
R
D
drain-side contact resistance (synonymous to R
DC
) Ω
R
DC
drain-side contact resistance (synonymous to R
D

R
M
effective channel resistance including contact effects Ω
R
par
bulk resistor in Linvar-type OFETs Ω
R

par
width-independent bulk resistor in Linvar-type OFETs Ω · m
R
S
source-side contact resistance (synonymous to R
SC
) Ω
R
SC
source-side contact resistance (synonymous to R
S
) Ω
S subthreshold slope V/dec
T temperature K
T
0
width of exponential distribution in VRH modeling K
t
df
high-to-low delay of logic gate s
t
dr
low-to-high delay of logic gate s
t
f
fall time of of logic gate s
t
is
insulator thickness m
159
Symbol Description Unit
t
PD
pair delay of two identical gates s
t
r
rise time of logic gate s
u, v coordinates of rotated coordinate system in method of maximum
squares
V
V voltage V
V
AA
characteristic voltage for mobility in a-Si TFT modeling V
V
B
potential barrier between grains in Psi-TFT modeling V
V
D
drain voltage V
V
DD
supply voltage V
V
DMax
maximum (in magnitude) drain current in V
Sat
method V
V
DS
drain-source voltage (V
D
−V
S
) V
V

DS
drain-source voltage clear of contact effects V
V
DSat
saturation voltage (synonymous to V
Sat
) V
V
G
gate voltage V
V
GDT
V
G
−V
D
−V
T
V
V
GS
gate-source voltage (V
G
−V
S
) V
V

GS
gate-source voltage clear of contact effects V
V
GST
effective gate-source voltage (V
G
−V
S
−V
T
) V
V
GST
effective V
GST
clear of contact effects V
V
H
stable voltage level for logic high in VTC curve of a logic gate V
160 Appendix A. List of Symbols
Symbol Description Unit
V
IH,min
minimum allowable voltage level for logic high at the input of a
logic gate
V
V
IL,max
maximum allowable voltage level for logic low at the input of a
logic gate
V
V
in
input voltage of a logic gate V
V
L
stable voltage level for logic low in VTC curve of a logic gate V
V
M
metastable voltage level in VTC curve of a logic gate V
V
OH,min
minimum allowable voltage level for logic high at the output of a
logic gate
V
V
OL,max
maximum allowable voltage level for logic low at the output of a
logic gate
V
V
ON
on voltage V
V
ON
statistical quantity to shift switch-on voltage in Dresden modeling V
V
out
output voltage of a logic gate V
V
S
source voltage V
V
Sat
saturation voltage (synonymous to V
DSat
) V
V

Sat
saturation voltage clear of contact effects V
V
SO
switch-on voltage V
V
T
threshold voltage V
V

T
effective threshold voltage including contact effects V
V
T0
constant threshold voltage parameter in Linvar modeling V
V
T,n
threshold voltage of electron-accumulating region of ambipolar
transistor
V
V
T,p
threshold voltage of hole-accumulating region of ambipolar tran-
sistor
V
V
th
thermal voltage V
X
τ
power factor for delay function τ in Dresden modeling –
X
f
power factor for shape function f in Dresden modeling –
X
h
power factor for scale function h in Dresden modeling –
W width of the transistor channel m
161
Appendix B
List of Acronyms
a-Si TFT amorphous silicon thin-film transistor
BC bottom contact
BFL Buffered FET Logic
CMOS complementary metal oxide semiconductor
CSL current-source load
DCI Device and Circuit Investigator
DL diode-load
DUT device under test
E/D logic enhancement-depletion logic
EDA electronic design automation
F8T2 poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene-co-bithiophene); short: polyfluorene
FET field-effect transistor
FI fan-in
FO fan-out
GND ground
IC integrated circuit
IGFET insulated-gate field-effect transistor
KCL Kirchhoff Current Law
MOSFET metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor
MQC Model Quality Chart
MTR multiple trapping and release
OFET organic field-effect transistor
OLED organic light-emitting diode
OTFT organic thin-film transistor
P3HT poly(3-hexylthiophene)
PDHTT poly(3,3”-dihexyl-2,2’:5’,2”-terthiophene)
162 Appendix B. List of Acronyms
PEDOT/PSS poly-(ethylenedioxy-thiophene)/poly(styrene sulfonic)acid
PPV poly(phenylenevinylene)
Psi TFT polycrystalline silicon TFT
PTAA polytriarylamide
PTV poly(2,5-thienylen vinylene)
RFID radio-frequency identification
RO ring oscillator
RPI Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
SPICE simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis
TC top contact
TFT thin-film transistor
UEM Unified Extraction Method (→UMEM)
UMEM Unified Model and parameter Extraction Method (→UEM)
UML universal mobility law
VRH variable range hopping
VTC voltage transfer characteristic
163
Appendix C
Glossary
analysis/analysis sequence/analysis procedure/analysis flow The four terms refer to a se-
quence of operations carried out to study the characteristic behavior of a circuit or de-
vice.
benchmark circuit A circuit useful in the extraction of typical performance figures of de-
vices. In the domain of logic circuits, inverters, ring oscillators, flip-flops, counters, etc.
might be used.
characterization Process of extracting performance figures of a circuit (circuit characteriza-
tion) or model parameters of a device (device characterization).
circuit This term refers to a combination of two or more devices which carries out a useful
function, i.e. acts as a logic gate, amplifier, etc.
conjugation In chemistry, a system of covalently bonded atoms in a compound with an alter-
nation of single and multiple bonds [9].
device One of the basic electrical elements supported by a semiconductor technology (tran-
sistor, resistor, capacitor, etc.). In this work, the term mainly refers to transistors.
effective mobility See mobility.
flexography printing A printing process where ink is transferred from a raised area. The
printing plate is made of a flexible material.
flip-flop A memory element where the level changes of the inputs define the stored state, i.e.
a edge-triggered memory element [134] as opposed to level-sensitive latches. See also
latch.
164 Appendix C. Glossary
framework A software tool in which analysis projects can be developed and organized. The
framework integrates the various tools needed in the analysis process. The terms anal-
ysis environment, analysis framework, and analysis concept are used synonymously.
gravure printing A printing process where ink is transferred from a recessed surface.
latch A memory element where the levels of the inputs define the stored state, i.e. a level
sensitive memory element [134] as opposed to edge-triggered flip-flops. The simplest
form of a latch is the so-called RS latch which consists of two cross-coupled two-input
NAND or NOR gates, respectively (see Fig. D.2). See also flip-flop.
mobility This quantity (unit cm
2
/Vs) describes the mobility of charge carriers. Several types
of mobilities can be defined (see [83]). In this work, the gate-voltage-dependent effec-
tive mobility, derived from experimental current-voltage characteristics of a FET [52],
is used.
model The representation of the electrical behavior of a device useful in circuit simulation.
A model consists of a description of the electrical behavior in the form of equations
(analytical model or compact model) or a combination of devices (macro model) as
well as a set of model parameters.
noise Any deviation from nominal voltages [112]. Sources for noise can e.g. be [113] spu-
rious signals/crosstalk which interfere with information-carrying circuit nodes, or in-
herent fluctuations of device parameters owing to fabrication process or operating point
variations.
off current Current at maximummagnitude of drain-source voltage and minimummagnitude
of gate-source voltage. See also on current.
on current Current at maximummagnitude of drain-source voltage and maximummagnitude
of gate-source voltage. See also off current.
output characteristics Plot of the drain current vs. drain-source voltage of a transistor.
percolation theory This field studies properties of disordered systems like conductivity by
means of statistical methods [156]. In organic electronics, percolation theory is used to
analyze transport in inhomogeneous organic semiconductors.
performance figures Figures representing the performance of a circuit or device in a certain
application. Performance figures can be switching speed, power consumption, robust-
ness against parameter variation, etc.
165
polymer A compound consisting of organic chains. The length of the chains is not clearly
defined [9].
ring oscillator A chain of inverting gates forming a loop with an odd number of stages. The
output of each gate is connected to the input of its successor. The output of the last gate
is fed back to the input of the first gate. This configuration leads to an oscillation with a
frequency of f ≈ 2nt
D
where n is the number of stages and t
D
is the delay per stage.
screen printing A printing process where ink is applied to a surface through a fine mesh
screen. The image is defined by blocking parts of the mesh screen [23].
testbench/test circuit A combination of one or more benchmark circuits together with the
required input signals and output loads. The testbench is used to derive performance
figures of devices or circuits during circuit characterization.
thin-film transistor A type of transistor where the semiconducting channel is deposited as a
thin film.
transfer characteristic Plot of the drain current vs. gate-source voltage of a transistor.
trap An energy level within the bandgap of a semiconductor due to the presence of impurities
or structural defects [14].
voltage transfer characteristic (VTC) Plot of the output voltage vs. input voltage of a logic
gate.
166 Appendix C. Glossary
167
Appendix D
Symbols and Truth Tables for Logic
Circuits
Logic Gates
A Q
L H
H L
A
B
Q &
A
B
Q
A B Q
L L H
L H H
H L H
H H L
L H L
A B Q
L L H
H L L
H H L
B
A
Q
B
A
Q
B
A
Q
Inverter
A B Q
L L H
L H L
H L L
H H H
XNOR
A
B
Q
Q Q A
NAND
NOR
A
Gate Type Truth Table
(EAN) Symbol
European North−American
(ANSI) Symbol
Fig. D.1: European/american symbols and truth tables for selected logic gates.
168 Appendix D. Symbols and Truth Tables for Logic Circuits
Latches
&
&
a)
b)
L L
L
L H
H H
L L
L
L
H
H
H H
H
L
X
X
L
H
H
Q
Q
R
¯
S
¯
R
S Q
n+1
Q
n
Q
n+1
Q
n
¯
Q
R
S
¯
R
¯
S
¯
Q
Fig. D.2: Schematics and truth tables for latches: a) NOR-based, and b) NAND-based.
169
Appendix E
Simulation Software
The following software tools have been used during the experimental analyses and for the
implementation of the analysis framework:
2 the SPICE simulator TclSpice (available at http://tclspice.sf.net) for the simulation of
logic gates and circuits,
2 the numerical language GNU Octave (available at www.gnu.org/software/octave) for
the postprocessing in modeling issues,
2 the scripting language Python (available at www.python.org) for the implementation of
DCI, the experimental implementation of the analysis concept,
2 the C++ class library wxWidgets (available at www.wxwidgets.org) for the implemen-
tation of the graphical user interface
2 the numerical C library Levmar (available at http://www.ics.forth.gr/∼lourakis/levmar/)
for the implementation of a Levenberg-Marquardt optimizer
170 Appendix E. Simulation Software
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