Novel Effects of Compressed CO2 Molecules on Structural Ordering and Charge Transport in Conjugated Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Thin Films

Jiang N., Sendogdular L., Sen M., Endoh M. K., Koga T., Fukuto M., ...More

LANGMUIR, vol.32, no.42, pp.10851-10860, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 42
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b03239
  • Journal Name: LANGMUIR
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.10851-10860
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


We report the effects of compressed CO, molecules as a novel plasticization agent for poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT)-conjugated polymer thin films. In situ neutron reflectivity experiments demonstrated the excess sorption of CO, molecules in the P3HT thin films (about 40 nm in thickness) at low pressure (P = 8.2 MPa) under the isothermal condition of T = 36 degrees C, which is far below the polymer bulk melting point. The results proved that these CO2, molecules accelerated the crystallization process of the polymer on the basis of ex situ grazing incidence X-ray diffraction measurements after drying the films-via rapid depressurization to atmospheric pressure: both the out-of-plane lamellar ordering of the backbone chains and the intraplane pi-pi stacking of the side chains were significantly improved, when compared with those in the control P3HT films subjected to conventional thermal annealing (at T = 170 degrees C). Electrical measurements elucidated that the CO2-annealed P3HT thin films exhibited enhanced charge carrier mobility along with decreased background charge carrier concentration and trap density compared with those in the thermally annealed counterpart. This is attributed to the CO2-induced increase in polymer chain mobility that can drive the detrapping of molecular oxygen and healing of conformational defects in the polymer thin film. Given the universality of the excess sorption of CO2 regardless of the type of polymers, the present findings suggest that CO2 annealing near the critical point can be useful as a robust processing strategy for improving the structural and electrical characteristics of other semiconducting conjugated polymers and related systems such as polymer:fullerene bulk heterojunction films.