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Multicomponent semiconducting polymer systems with low crystallization-induced percolation threshold

Nature Materials volume 5, pages 950956 (2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Blends and other multicomponent systems are used in various polymer applications to meet multiple requirements that cannot be fulfilled by a single material1,2,3. In polymer optoelectronic devices it is often desirable to combine the semiconducting properties of the conjugated species with the excellent mechanical properties of certain commodity polymers. Here we investigate bicomponent blends comprising semicrystalline regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) and selected semicrystalline commodity polymers, and show that, owing to a highly favourable, crystallization-induced phase segregation of the two components, during which the semiconductor is predominantly expelled to the surfaces of cast films, we can obtain vertically stratified structures in a one-step process. Incorporating these as active layers in polymer field-effect transistors, we find that the concentration of the semiconductor can be reduced to values as low as 3 wt% without any degradation in device performance. This is in stark contrast to blends containing an amorphous insulating polymer, for which significant reduction in electrical performance was reported4. Crystalline–crystalline/semiconducting–insulating multicomponent systems offer expanded flexibility for realizing high-performance semiconducting architectures at drastically reduced materials cost with improved mechanical properties and environmental stability, without the need to design all performance requirements into the active semiconducting polymer itself.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted to I. McCulloch, M. Heeney and M. Shkunov (Merck Chemicals, Southampton, UK) for their supply of P3HT homopolymer. We acknowledge funding from the European Science Foundation through the Self-Organised Nanostructures (SONS) initiative. For the GIXD experiments, we acknowledge DanSync for financial support and the BW2/HASYLAB staff for assistance.

Author information

Author notes

    • Dag W. Breiby
    •  & Martin M. Nielsen

    Present address: Centre for Molecular Movies, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 5, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Affiliations

  1. Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Ave., Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK

    • Shalom Goffri
    •  & Henning Sirringhaus
  2. Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, Wolfgang-Pauli Str., CH-8093, Zürich, Switzerland

    • Christian Müller
    • , Natalie Stingelin-Stutzmann
    •  & Paul Smith
  3. Department of Materials, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Rd., London E1 4NS, UK

    • Natalie Stingelin-Stutzmann
  4. Danish Polymer Centre, Risø National Laboratory, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

    • Dag W. Breiby
    • , Jens W. Andreasen
    •  & Martin M. Nielsen
  5. Laboratory of Macromolecular and Organic Chemistry, TU Eindhoven, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    • Christopher P. Radano
    •  & René A. J. Janssen
  6. Department of Chemistry, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

    • Richard Thompson

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Paul Smith or Henning Sirringhaus.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1779

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