Highly crystalline and uniform conjugated polymer thin films by a water-based biphasic dip-coating technique minimizing the use of halogenated solvents for transistor applications†
The commercialization of organic electronics will require minimizing the use of halogenated solvents used to solution-process organic semiconductors, which is a crucial step for large-area coating methods, such as the dip-coating method. Here, we report a novel biphasic dip-coating method which uses a water-based biphasic solution and produces a uniform, smooth, and crystalline conjugated polymer thin film in the presence of a solvent additive. We demonstrated that a solvent additive with a high boiling point and solubility parameter similar to that of the solution affected the solvent evaporation rate and improved the crystallinity of the dip-coated polymer thin film. The method used to add the solvent strongly influenced how the solvent additive diffused into the polymer solution, which affected the resulting film morphology. The crystallinity and morphology of the polymer films were correlated with the electrical characteristics, and the most crystalline film displayed a high hole field effect mobility of 0.0391 cm2 V−1 s−1 when processed from the solvent mixture without post-treatment. Our findings provide a direction for the development of reliable and promising organic thin film transistor technologies.