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Ethanol-Processable, Highly Crystalline Conjugated Polymers for Eco-Friendly Fabrication of Organic Transistors and Solar Cells

Nguyen, Thanh Luan, Lee, Changyeon, Kim, Hyoeun, Kim, Youngwoong, Lee, Wonho, Oh, Joon Hak, Kim, Bumjoon J., Woo, Han Young
Macromolecules 2017 v.50 no.11 pp. 4415-4424
absorption, chemical structure, chlorobenzene, ethanol, fullerene, guidelines, polymers, solar cells, solvents, transistors
We report eco- and human-friendly fabrication of organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) and polymer solar cells (PSCs) using only ethanol as a processing solvent at ambient condition, in stark contrast to that involving the use of halogenated and/or aromatic solvents. New ethanol-processable electroactive materials, p-type polymer (PPDT2FBT-A) and n-type bis-adduct fullerene acceptor (Bis-C₆₀-A) are designed rationally by incorporation of oligoethylene glycol (OEG) side-chains. By ethanol processing, PPDT2FBT-A shows a broad light absorption in the range of 300–700 nm and highly crystalline interchain ordering with out-of-plane interlamellar scattering up to (400) with strong π–π stacking. As a result, the ethanol-processed PPDT2FBT-A OFETs yield high charge-carrier mobilities up to 1.0 × 10–² cm² V–¹ s–¹, which is the highest value reported to date from alcohol-processed devices. Importantly, the ethanol-processed PPDT2FBT-A OFET outperformed that processed using typical processing solvent, chlorobenzene (CB), with ∼10-fold enhancement in hole mobility, because the highly edge-on oriented packing of PPDT2FBT-A was produced by ethanol-process. Also, for the first time, significant photovoltaic performance was achieved for the ethanol-processed device of PPDT2FBT-A and Bis-C₆₀-A due to the formation of an interpenetrating nanofibrillar morphology of highly crystalline PPDT2FBT-A polymers. The relationships between molecular structure, nanoscale morphology and electronic properties within ethanol-processed OFETs and PSCs were elucidated by comparing to typical CB-processed devices. These comparisons provide important guidelines for the design of new ethanol/water-soluble active layer materials and their use in the development of green solvent-processed efficient OFETs and PSCs.