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Issue 26, 2014
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Increased elasticity of a low-bandgap conjugated copolymer by random segmentation for mechanically robust solar cells

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Abstract

Despite the necessity of organic electronic materials to undergo large deformations in flexible, ultra-thin, and stretchable applications, many high-performance organic semiconductors are mechanically fragile. This paper describes an approach to increase the elasticity of low-bandgap conjugated polymers by statistical incorporation of unlike monomers. The material under study is PDPP2FT, an alternating copolymer. Synthesized by the Stille polymerization, it comprises an N-alkylated diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) unit flanked by two furan rings (2F) alternating with thiophene (T). In the modified (“segmented”) polymer, PDPP2FT-seg-2T, the DPP is exchanged for a tail-to-tail coupled unit of two 3-hexylthiophene rings (bithiophene, 2T) in an average of one of approximately five repeat units. 1H NMR spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and gel-permeation chromatography confirm the presence and covalent incorporation of the 2T units within the conjugated backbone of the segmented polymer. The tensile modulus of the segmented polymer, 0.93 ± 0.16 GPa, is lower than that of the homopolymer, 2.17 ± 0.35 GPa. When blended with PC61BM, the segmented material produces devices with power conversion efficiencies of 2.82 ± 0.28%, which is similar to that of PDPP2FT, 2.52 ± 0.34%. These results suggest that it is possible to increase the mechanical resiliency of semiconducting polymers for solar cells without having a deleterious effect on the photovoltaic properties.

Graphical abstract: Increased elasticity of a low-bandgap conjugated copolymer by random segmentation for mechanically robust solar cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
02 Jan 2014
Accepted
04 Mar 2014
First published
05 Mar 2014

This article is Open Access

RSC Adv., 2014,4, 13635-13643
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Increased elasticity of a low-bandgap conjugated copolymer by random segmentation for mechanically robust solar cells

A. D. Printz, S. Savagatrup, D. J. Burke, T. N. Purdy and D. J. Lipomi, RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 13635
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA00029C

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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