Enhancing the Solubility of Semiconducting Polymers in Eco-Friendly Solvents With Carbohydrate-Containing Side Chains

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Polymer Science and Engineering


Semiconducting polymers are at the forefront of next-generation organic electronics due to their robust mechanical and optoelectronic properties. However, their extended π-conjugation often leads to materials with low solubilities in common organic solvents, thus requiring processing in high-boiling-point and toxic halogenated solvents to generate thin-film devices. To address this environmental concern, a natural product-inspired side-chain engineering approach was used to incorporate galactose-containing moieties into semiconducting polymers toward improved processability in greener solvents. Novel isoindigo-based polymers with different ratios of galactose-containing side chains were synthesized to improve the solubilities of the organic semiconductors in alcohol-based solvents. The addition of carbohydrate-containing side chains to π-conjugated polymers was found to considerably impact the intermolecular aggregation of the materials and their microstructures in the solid state as confirmed by atomic force microscopy and grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering. The charge transport characteristics of the new semiconductors were evaluated by the fabrication of organic field-effect transistors prepared from both toxic halogenated and greener alcohol-based solvents. Importantly, the incorporation of carbohydrate-containing side chains was shown to have very little detrimental impact on the electronic properties of the polymer when processed from green solvents.

Publication Title

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

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