Fused electron deficient semiconducting polymers for air stable electron transport

Conventional semiconducting polymer synthesis typically involves transition metal-mediated coupling reactions that link aromatic units with single bonds along the backbone. Rotation around these bonds contributes to conformational and energetic disorder and therefore potentially limits charge delocalisation, whereas the use of transition metals presents difficulties for sustainability and application in biological environments. Here we show that a simple aldol condensation reaction can prepare polymers where double bonds lock-in a rigid backbone conformation, thus eliminating free rotation along the conjugated backbone. This polymerisation route requires neither organometallic monomers nor transition metal catalysts and offers a reliable design strategy to facilitate delocalisation of frontier molecular orbitals, elimination of energetic disorder arising from rotational torsion and allowing closer interchain electronic coupling. These characteristics are desirable for high charge carrier mobilities. Our polymers with a high electron affinity display long wavelength NIR absorption with air stable electron transport in solution processed organic thin film transistors.

Onwubiko A, Yue W, Jellett C, Xiao M, Chen H-Y, et al. (2018) Fused electron deficient semiconducting polymers for air stable electron transport. Nature Communications 9. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-02852-6.

We acknowledge funding from BASF, as well as FP7 Marie Curie IEF (622187), EPSRC Project EP/G037515/1, EP/M005143/1, EC FP7 Project SC2 (610115), EC FP7 Project ArtESun (604397), EC FP7 POLYMED (612538), EC H2020 and Project SOLEDLIGHT (643791) for the financial support. M.K.R. and J.-L.B. thank generous internal competitive funding from KAUST; they are grateful to the KAUST IT Research Computing Team and Supercomputing Laboratory for providing continuous assistance as well as computational and storage resources. We thank the State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and Devices, South China University of Technology for the single crystal XRD experiments of NIID. Mingfei Xiao thanks the Cambridge Overseas Trust and Chinese Scholarship Council for Ph.D. funding.

Springer Nature

Nature Communications


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