Tuning the Cross-Linker Crystallinity of a Stretchable Polymer Semiconductor

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Polymers and High Performance Materials


The cross-linking of conjugated polymers has been demonstrated to be an effective strategy to improve its elastic properties to give deformable semiconductors for plastic electronics. While there have been extensive studies of the structural requirements of the polymer host for good film ductility, no work to date has focused on the relevance of the structural design or chemistry of these cross-linker additives. In this study, urethane groups and tertiary carbon atoms are inserted into the alkyl backbone of perfluorophenyl azide-based cross-linkers to investigate the importance of cross-linker crystallinity with respect to polymer morphology and hence mechanical and electrical properties. Linear cross-linkers with hydrogen bonding from urethane groups readily phase separate and recrystallize in the polymer network to form cross-linked domains that obstruct the strain distribution of the polymer film. Branch cross-linkers with tertiary carbon on the other hand form an evenly cross-linked network in the polymer blend stemming from excellent miscibility and show a 4-fold increase in fracture strain. Furthermore, a stable hole mobility of 0.2 cm2 V–1 s–1 is achieved up to ε = 100%, and a stable hole mobility of 0.1 cm2 V–1 s–1 after 2000 cycles of ε = 25% on fully stretchable organic field-effect transistors.

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Chemistry of Materials