Entanglements in marginal solutions: a means of tuning pre-aggregation of conjugated polymers with positive implications for charge transport

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Title: Entanglements in marginal solutions: a means of tuning pre-aggregation of conjugated polymers with positive implications for charge transport
Authors: Hu, H
Zhao, K
Fernandes, N
Boufflet, P
Bannock, JH
Yu, L
De Mello, JC
Stingelin, N
Heeney, M
Giannelise, EP
Amassian, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The solution-processing of conjugated polymers, just like commodity polymers, is subject to solvent and molecular weight-dependent solubility, interactions and chain entanglements within the polymer, all of which can influence the crystallization and microstructure development in semi-crystalline polymers and consequently affect charge transport and optoelectronic properties. Disentanglement of polymer chains in marginal solvents was reported to work via ultrasonication, facilitating the formation of photophysically ordered polymer aggregates. In this contribution, we explore how a wide range of technologically relevant solvents and formulations commonly used in organic electronics influence chain entanglement and the aggregation behaviour of P3HT using a combination of rheological and spectrophotometric measurements. The specific viscosity of the solution offers an excellent indication of the degree of entanglements in the solution, which is found to be related to the solubility of P3HT in a given solvent. Moreover, deliberately disentangling the solution in the presence of solvophobic driving forces, leads consistently to formation of photophysically visible aggregates which is indicative of local and perhaps long range order in the solute. We show for a broad range of solvents and molecular weights that disentanglement ultimately leads to significant ordering of the polymer in the solid state and a commensurate increase in charge transport properties. In doing so we demonstrate a remarkable ability to tune the microstructure which has important implications for transport properties. We discuss its potential implications in the context of organic electronics and photovoltaics.
Issue Date: 17-Jun-2015
Date of Acceptance: 16-Jun-2015
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/41946
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5tc01425e
ISSN: 2050-7534
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Start Page: 7394
End Page: 7404
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Materials Chemistry C
Volume: 3
Issue: 28
Copyright Statement: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence.
Sponsor/Funder: Kaust
Funder's Grant Number: N/A
Keywords: Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Materials Science, Multidisciplinary
Physics, Applied
Materials Science
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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