Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), such as indium tin oxide and zinc oxide, play an important role as electrode materials in organic-semiconductor devices. The properties of the inorganic-organic interface - the offset between the TCO Fermi level and the relevant transport level, the extent to which the organic semiconductor can wet the oxide surface, and the influence of the surface on semiconductor morphology - significantly affect device performance. This review surveys the literature on TCO modification with phosphonic acids (PAs), which has increasingly been used to engineer these interfacial properties. The first part outlines the relevance of TCO surface modification to organic electronics, surveys methods for the synthesis of PAs, discusses the modes by which they can bind to TCO surfaces, and compares PAs to alternative organic surface modifiers. The next section discusses methods of PA monolayer deposition, the kinetics of monolayer formation, and structural evidence regarding molecular orientation on TCOs. The next sections discuss TCO work-function modification using PAs, tuning of TCO surface energy using PAs, and initiation of polymerizations from TCO-tethered PAs. Finally, studies that examine the use of PA-modified TCOs in organic light-emitting diodes and organic photovoltaics are compared.
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