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Significance of encapsulating organic temperature sensors through spatial atmospheric atomic layer deposition for protection against humidity


              Printed organic sensors are of significant importance owing to their simplicity, low cost, easy fabrication and solution processability. However, organic sensors often face the problem of performance degradation when exposed to ambient environment therefore, the effect of humidity needs to be studied for prolonging the lifetime of organic sensors. In this study, we propose atomically thin and highly reliable encapsulation layer on the surface of an organic functional material to enhance its lifetime as a temperature sensing unit. Our organic temperature sensor is based on a conductive and uniform IDT pattern deposited on a glass substrate through advanced printing technology of reverse offset. Thin film of PEDOT:PSS is used as the temperature sensitive functional layer deposited through electrohydrodynamic atomization while the organic thin film was encapsulated with aluminum oxide (Al2O3) through spatial atmospheric atomic layer deposition system (SAALD). The temperature range of the developed sensors was from 25 to 90 °C with relative humidity reaching up to 75% RH. The obtained results exhibited that Al2O3 encapsulation deposited through SAALD significantly enhanced the linearity, repeatability, endurance (50 cycles), retention (1 month) and lifetime of organic temperature sensor as compared to the non-encapsulated sensor. The performance degradation mechanism of non-encapsulated sensor due to humid environment has been discussed in detail. This study contributes an important step forward for preserving the performance and elongating the lifetime of organic electronic devices through a single atomically thin encapsulation.