Liquid-crystalline (LC) π-conjugated polymers are an emerging class of semiconducting materials owing to their promising performance in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs). Little is known, however, about the relationship between LC nature and charge carrier mobility. In this paper, we focus on a thiophene-based p-type semiconducting polymer, PC12TV12T, containing thienylene–vinylene–thienylene (TVT) units, and report a systematic investigation of its thermotropic LC properties, self-organized structures in bulk and thin films, as well as charge transport properties in OFETs. We found that thermal annealing at LC temperatures (99–170 °C) strongly enhanced OFET performance, leading to field-effect hole mobilities as high as 0.37 cm2 V−1 s−1, comparable to that of amorphous silicon. By virtue of its thermoplasticity, the TVT-based polymer can also be processed into fine semiconducting microfibers, which can even function as a p-type active channel for charge transport. This bottom-up technology utilizing the LC nature enables cost-effective and energy-efficient manufacture of optoelectronic devices.
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This work was partially supported by KAKENHI (Grant Nos. JP18H02048 (TY), JP18J22297 (TM), and JP16K21218 (HK)) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Amano Institute of Technology (TY). TM is grateful for the financial support from the JSPS Research Fellowship. The authors acknowledge the support of the Cooperative Research Program “Network Joint Research Center for Materials and Devices”. The GIXD experiments were performed at the BL40-B2 beamline in SPring-8 with the approval of the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) (Proposal No. 2017A1119).
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Mori, T., Komiyama, H., Ichikawa, T. et al. A liquid-crystalline semiconducting polymer based on thienylene–vinylene–thienylene: Enhanced hole mobilities by mesomorphic molecular ordering and thermoplastic shape-deformable characteristics. Polym J 52, 313–321 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41428-019-0282-4