- Donor-Acceptor Block Copolymers in Organic Electronics - Spectroscopy, Charge Transport, Morphology and Device Application (2010)
- Organic electronic devices have attracted increasing attention over the last decade. The use of organic materials allows the creation of large area, flexible and low-cost lightemitting devices, transistors and photovoltaics. The development of new organic materials contributes to a successful commercialisation. The present work deals with the characterisation of novel donor-acceptor block copolymers and their constituent polymer blocks that are well-suited for organic photovoltaics. Block copolymers phase-separate and self-assemble into nanostructured morphologies due to the covalent linkage of the two blocks. The interplay between intermolecular interactions, mesoscopic crystalline structures and the block copolymer microphase separation determine the material properties and therefore the device characteristics. Thus, these block copolymers offer a unique platform to study the electronic and photophysical properties of confined donor-acceptor systems. This work is concerned with the fundamental characterisation of these properties as well as the application in organic field effect transistors and organic solar cells. The acceptor polymer block poly(perylene bisimide acrylate) (PPerAcr) consists of perylene bisimide (PBI) units that are linked to a polyacrylate backbone. We have investigated the homopolymer PPerAcr, a model block copolymer in conjunction with polystyrene (PS), as well as fully functionalised block copolymers with a donor block either made of poly(vinyl triphenylamine) (PvTPA) or poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). These polymers offer a set of electronically active materials with several hierarchical structures: The PBI moieties feature intermolecular pi-pi interactions that lead to crystalline side chains of PPerAcr that form a lattice of one-dimensional stacks of PBI. Further nanoscopic structures are induced by the combination of PPerAcr with another amorphous block or another semi-crystalline block such as P3HT due to phase separation. Since PPerAcr is used as an electron transporting material in all subsequent block copolymers, its structural, optical and electronic properties are investigated in detail. The intermolecular interactions of the PBI moieties favour not only charge transport, but also affect the optical properties, due to the electronic coupling of the transition dipole moments. Thus, optical spectroscopy such as absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy give access to information about the intermolecular packing, which is correlated with temperature dependent X-ray diffraction studies. The strong intermolecular packing of the PBI units can be overcome by solvent-vapour exposure. This is especially helpful to induce polymer chain mobility, enabling the completion of block copolymer phase separation for example. This method was studied in detail by means of in-situ spectroscopy and ellipsometry during controlled solvent-vapour exposure. Spincoated films of PvTPA-b-PPerAcr exhibit an incomplete phase separation and can be transformed into an ordered lamellar morphology by solvent-vapour annealing. In addition to PvTPA, we have characterised further poly(triarylamines) with different electron-rich substituents at the TPA units in OFETs. All these polymers are amorphous side-chain polymers. We found the charge carrier mobility to be independent of the molecular weight, though allowing an adjustment of their thermal properties for device fabrication. This is in contrast to P3HT, which is a semi-crystalline, conjugated main chain polymer. X-ray diffraction, steady state and time-resolved spectroscopy, as well as the transistor device characterisation were employed to establish a charge transport - morphology relation for the donor-acceptor block copolymers P3HT-b-PPerAcr containing two crystalline blocks. Controlling the crystallisation preferences of the two blocks leads to a new processing route for OFETs with tunable p-type, ambipolar, or n-type transport through a one-time thermal annealing step. The application of P3HT-b-PPerAcr in organic photovoltaic devices showed also very promising results with high external quantum efficiencies. Subsequently, the photophysics of P3HT-b-PPerAcr by means of absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy as well as time-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy were investigated. All block copolymers exhibited an ultra-fast charge-pair formation and a strongly reduced photoluminescence, suggesting domain sizes of only some nanometres. Although efficient charge separation could be accomplished, a good charge percolation was lacking due to small domain sizes. Furthermore the herein presented results emphasis the fundamental importance of morphology and interfacial properties such as crystallinity. These findings motivate the further use of block copolymers as compatibilising agents for polymer blends to improve their interface and morphology.