- Donor-Acceptor Block Copolymers for Charge Separation at Nanostructured Interfaces (2006)
- The motivation for this thesis was the synthesis and characterization of novel materials exhibiting nanostructured interfaces for electro-optical studies. Therefore a series of functionalized block copolymers, acceptor labeled polymers and low molecular weight model compounds were synthesized in which hole transport (donor), electron transport (acceptor) and light absorbing functionalities were incorporated. My approach was to use functionalized block copolymers. Block copolymers exhibit microphase separation with domain sizes on a nanometer scale by the interplay between immiscibility and molecular connectivity. I used a controlled radical polymerization technique, the nitroxide mediated radical polymerization (NMRP), to get block copolymers with one block consisting of an electron transport material and the other one of a hole transport material. Triphenylamine was used as hole conductor in combination with perylene bisimide as dye and electron conductor. First, a soluble perylene bisimide monomer had to be synthesized. This was achieved by an unsymmetrical synthesis starting from the perylene-3,4:9,10-tetracarboxylic bisanhydride. For the solubility a swallow-tail substituent was introduced and the other imide group was functionalized with an acrylate to get the monomer. Starting the polymerization with 4-vinyltriphenylamine, different PvTPA 23 macroinitiators were synthesized. A series of block copolymers 24C-24F were prepared using the same PvTPA macroinitiator 23C, thus only varying the perylene bisimide block. Furthermore, a series of block copolymers 24A-24C were synthesized using different PvTPA macroinitiators 23A-23C. Thus block copolymers with different molecular weights, but similar ratios of the blocks could be prepared. The controlled nature of NMRP allowed the architecture of these block copolymers with low polydispersities and controlled molecular weight. The block copolymers exhibited microphase separation, revealing elongated nanowire like structures for those with high perylene bisimide content. Most of these block copolymers exhibit a constant width of 13 nm for the nanowire like structure of the perylene bisimides. This was the first examples of microphase separation of block copolymers carrying electron transport and hole transport blocks. The electrochemical properties of the block copolymers were studied using cyclic voltammetry. The LUMO of the perylene bisimide block is -3.65 eV and the HOMO of the triphenylamine block is -5.23 eV. Therefore the maximum built-in potential and theoretically achievable photovoltage Voc is 1.58V. The efficiency of the block copolymer solar cells is one order of magnitude higher than that of the comparable blend device. It could also be shown that the block copolymer in the solar cell is microphase separated, revealing domain sizes from 10 to 50 nm, whereas the blend on the other hand is macrophase separated. This is the first report of charge separation at a nanostructured bulk interface in a block copolymer consisting of an electron transport and a hole transport material exhibiting microphase separation. These results are thus proof-of-principle for the nanostructured bulk heterojunction solar cells using block copolymers. Furthermore, fluorescent acceptor labeled polymers were synthesized using a series of monomers in order to obtain a single dye unit attached to various polymer chains. These polymers were prepared by nitroxide mediated radical polymerization with an alkoxyamine initiator that is covalently bound to a perylene bisimide moiety. It could be shown with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry that a single perylene bisimide unit is incorporated in each polymer chain. By using 4-vinyltriphenylamine monomers bifunctional polymers (8) containing electron donating moieties and a single electron acceptor unit were obtained. The polymerization of standard monomers such as styrene and acrylates, gave polymers (9-12) with only a single electron acceptor unit. Also novel electron acceptors consisting of perylene bisimide and fullerene moieties 15 and 17 were prepared and characterized. Although these dyads do not exhibit any ground state electronic coupling between the individual moieties, the emissive properties of the perylene bisimide units are strongly influenced by the covalently bound fullerene. The fluorescence of the perylene bisimide moiety is quenched by 99 % due to energy and electron transfer between the fullerene and the perylene bisimide. Beside the use as a model system these dyads are also capable of being used in organic solar cells. PCBM, the fullerene derivative which is usually used in polymer solar cells, is barely absorbing light and therefore perylene bisimide functionalized fullerenes may be an alternative as they strongly absorb light in the visible region.