Novel poly(triphenylamine-alt-fluorene) with asymmetric hexaphenylbenzene and pyrene moieties: synthesis, fluorescence, flexible near-infrared electrochromic devices and theoretical investigation†
In this study, a new triphenylamine-alt-fluorene conjugated copolymer, HPBPYFL6, with hexaphenylbenzene (HPB) and pyrene as asymmetrical pendant groups was synthesized via Suzuki coupling polymerization. The conjugated polymer had a weight-average molecular weight of 5.8 × 104 g mol−1 with a polydispersity index of 2.5 characterized by gel permeation chromatography (GPC). HPBPYFL6 showed good solubility in common organic solvents such as NMP, THF, toluene and dichloromethane at 25 °C. In addition, HPBPYFL6 possessed a high glass transition temperature of 260 °C and a 10% weight-loss temperature of 503 °C in nitrogen. HPBPYFL6 bearing a pyrene moiety had a solvatochromic fluorescence shift from a green to an orange emission as the polarity of the solvent increased. Cyclic voltammetry of HPBPYFL6 films cast onto indium-tin oxide-coated glass (ITO-glass) exhibited two oxidation redox couples at an E1/2 value of 0.82 and 1.17 V versus Ag/Ag+ in an acetonitrile solution. The HPBPYFL6 film on graphene-coated PET had an E1/2 value of 0.24 and 1.12 V. Conjugated polymer films exhibited reversible electrochromic behaviour with a colour change from pale yellow to deep blue upon electrochemical oxidation and high absorbance in the near-infrared (NIR) region. The switching and bleaching times were 5.16 s and 3.12 s for 1231 nm and were 3.30 s and 3.74 s for 1030 nm of HPBPYFL6 on ITO-glass. The strong NIR electrochromic absorbance of HPBPYFL6 was attributed to intervalence charge transfer by the incorporation of the HPB moiety. This phenomenon was confirmed by chemical oxidation as the oxidant contents increased in the solution state. Furthermore, the electrochromic mechanism was interpreted by DFT calculation and the simulated NIR electrochromic spectra of model compound HPBPYFL are in good agreement with the experimental data.