Highly fluorescent purine-containing conjugated copolymers with tailored optoelectronic properties†
Conjugated copolymers containing electron donor and acceptor units in their main chain have emerged as promising materials for organic electronic devices due to their tunable optoelectronic properties. Herein, we describe the use of direct arylation polymerization to create a series of fully π-conjugated copolymers containing the highly tailorable purine scaffold as a key design element. To create efficient coupling sites, dihalopurines are flanked by alkylthiophenes to create a monomer that is readily copolymerized with a variety of conjugated comonomers, ranging from electron-donating 3,4-dihydro-2H-thieno[3,4-b][1,4]dioxepine to electron-accepting 4,7-bis(5-bromo-3-hexylthiophen-2-yl)benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole. The comonomer choice and electronic nature of the purine scaffold allow the photophysical properties of the purine-containing copolymers to be widely varied, with optical bandgaps ranging from 1.96–2.46 eV, and photoluminescent quantum yields as high as ϕ = 0.61. Frontier orbital energy levels determined for the various copolymers using density functional theory tight binding calculations track with experimental results, and the geometric structures of the alkylthiophene-flanked purine monomer and its copolymer are found to be nearly planar. The utility of direct arylation polymerization and intrinsic tailorability of the purine scaffold highlight the potential of these fully conjugated polymers to establish structure–property relationships based on connectivity pattern and comonomer type, which may broadly inform efforts to advance purine-containing conjugated copolymers for various applications.