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Robust and Stretchable Polymer Semiconducting Networks: From Film Microstructure to Macroscopic Device Performance

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posted on 2019-02-25, 00:00 authored by Guoyan Zhang, Savannah Lee, Elizabeth Gutiérrez-Meza, Carolyn Buckley, Michael McBride, David A. Valverde-Chávez, Yo Han Kwon, Victoria Savikhin, Hao Xiong, Tim J. Dunn, Michael F. Toney, Zhibo Yuan, Carlos Silva, Elsa Reichmanis
Although stretchable polymer-based devices with promising electrical performance have been produced through the polymer blend strategy, the interplay between the blend film microstructure and macroscopic device performance under deformation has yet to be unambiguously articulated. Here, we discuss the formation of robust semiconducting networks in blended films through a thermodynamic perspective. Thermodynamic behavior along with the linear absorption and photoluminescence measurements predict the competition between polymer phase separation and semiconductor crystallization processes during film formation. Semiconducting films comprised of different pi-conjugated semiconductors were prepared and shown to have mechanical and electronic properties similar to those of films comprised of a model P3HT and PDMS blend. These results suggest that a film’s microstructure and therefore robustness can be refined by controlling the phase separation and crystallization behavior during film solidification. Fine-tuning a film’s electrical, mechanical, and optical properties during fabrication will allow for advanced next-generation of optoelectronic devices.

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