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Photocleavage behavior of a polythiophene derivative containing a coumarin unit


We synthesized a polythiophene derivative containing a photocleavable coumarin unit in the side chain. The resulting polymer contained 56% coumarin units with a number-average molecular weight of 17,000. When a film of the polythiophene derivative was irradiated at 313 nm, 54% of the coumarin groups were photocleaved. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed that the photocleaved side chains were transformed to carboxyl groups. Formation of the carboxyl group changed the nature of the surface of the polymer film from hydrophobic to hydrophilic. Furthermore, photocleavage of the coumarin unit changed the solubility of the polymer in organic solvents. Taking advantage of this solubility change, we photopatterned the polythiophene film using a photomask. In addition, the photocleaved polythiophene film showed a 104-fold increase in electrical conductivity after chemical doping.

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We thank the Support Unit of Bio-Material Analysis, Research Resources Center, RIKEN Brain Science Institute for performing the HRMS measurements. We also thank Prof. Dr. Keisuke Tajima and Dr. Kyohei Nakano of the Emergent Functional Polymers Research Team, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, for the electrical conductivity measurements. We thank Edanz Group ( for editing a draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yoshihiro Ito or Masuki Kawamoto.

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Muralidhar, J.R., Kodama, K., Hirose, T. et al. Photocleavage behavior of a polythiophene derivative containing a coumarin unit. Polym J 54, 191–198 (2022).

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