American Chemical Society
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Discrete Photopatternable π-Conjugated Oligomers for Electrochromic Devices

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posted on 2008-07-30, 00:00 authored by Christian B. Nielsen, Alex Angerhofer, Khalil A. Abboud, John R. Reynolds
Three discrete oligomeric systems including an all-thiophene (T6) system, a thiophene/phenylene (TPTTPT) system, and a thiophene/EDOT/phenylene (TPEEPT) system have been constructed and characterized with emphasis on structural, optical, electrochemical, and spectroelectrochemical properties. For all three chromophores, the radical cation, the dication, and the π-dimer have been identified and characterized. EPR spectroscopy reveals that the radical cations of TPTTPT and TPEEPT have g values of 2.008−2.012 and peak-to-peak widths in the range 4.2−5.3 G. Formation of the radical cation takes place at a lower potential for TPEEPT than for TPTTPT and T6, whereas subsequent oxidation to the dication occurs more easily for TPTTPT than for TPEEPT and T6. We ascribe this observation to more localized charges in the oxidized species of TPEEPT, which is supported by our finding that the radical cation of TPEEPT is less prone to undergo π-dimerization than the radical cations of TPTTPT and T6. All the oxidized species are sufficiently stable to allow for optical characterization, and the relative positions of all absorption bands are found to be in agreement with the electrochemical data. For further solid-state modifications of these materials, we have effectively modified the synthetic design and grafted terminal functionalities (e.s. acrylates) onto the discrete oligomers. Of these novel materials, TPEEPT proves to be the most promising anodically coloring material for electrochromics, and it undergoes reversible switching between two different colored states (bright yellow and clear blue) and one almost transparent and color neutral state. Contrast ratios, measured as Δ%T at λmax, are as high as 62.5%, and switching times are in the range 2−5 s for the coloration process, though significantly longer for the bleaching process. As a proof of concept, we have successfully constructed a simple photopatterned electrochromic device by exploiting the terminal acrylate functionalities of the oligomers in a UV-initiated cross-linking process. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first oligomer-based photopatterned electrochromic device reported in the literature.