skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00PM ET on Friday, December 15 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 16 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Lewis acid–base pair doping of p-type organic semiconductors
Doping is required to increase the electrical conductivity of organic semiconductors for uses in electronic and energy conversion devices. The limited number of commonly used p-type dopants suggests that new dopants or doping mechanisms could improve the efficiency of doping and provide new means for processing doped polymers. Drawing on Lewis acid–base pair chemistry, we combined Lewis acid dopant B(C 6 F 5 ) 3 (BCF) with the weak Lewis base benzoyl peroxide (BPO). The detailed behavior of p-type doping of the model polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) with this Lewis acid–base pair in solution was examined. Solution 19 F-NMR spectra confirmed the formation of the expected counterion, as well as side products from reactions with solvent. BCF : BPO was also found to efficiently dope a range of semiconducting polymers with varying chemical structures demonstrating that the BCF : BPO combination has an effective electron affinity of at least 5.3 eV. In thin films of regioregular P3HT cast from the doped solutions, delocalized polarons formed due to the large counterions leading to a large polaron-counterion distance. At and above 0.2 eq. BCF : BPO doping, amorphous areas of the film became doped, disrupting the structural order of the films. Despite the change in structural order, thin films of regioregular P3HT doped with 0.2 eq. BCF : BPO had a conductivity of 25 S cm −1 . This study demonstrates the effectiveness of a two-component Lewis acid–base doping mechanism and suggests additional two-component Lewis acid–base chemistries should be explored.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry C
Page Range / eLocation ID:
6287 to 6295
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The mechanism and the nature of the species formed by molecular doping of the model polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) in its regioregular (rre-) and regiorandom (rra-) forms in solution are investigated for three different dopants: the prototypical π-electron acceptor 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ), the strong Lewis acid tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane (BCF), and the strongly oxidizing complex molybdenum tris[1-(methoxycarbonyl)-2-(trifluoromethyl)-ethane-1,2-dithiolene] (Mo(tfd-CO2Me)3). In a combined optical and electron paramagnetic resonance study, we show that the doping of rreP3HT in solution occurs by integer charge transfer, resulting in the formation of P3HT radical cations (polarons) for all the dopants considered here. Remarkably, despite the different chemical nature of the dopants and dopant-polymer interaction, the formed polarons exhibit essentially identical optical absorption spectra. The situation is very different for the doping of rraP3HT, where we observe the formation of a charge-transfer complex with F4TCNQ and formation of a “localized” P3HT polaron on non-aggregated chains upon doping with BCF, while there is no indication of dopant-induced species in case of Mo(tfd-CO2Me)3. We estimate the ionization efficiency of the respective dopants for the two polymers in solution and report the molar extinction coefficient spectra of the three different species. Finally, we observe increased spin delocalization in regioregular compared to regiorandom P3HT by electron nuclear double resonance, suggesting that the ability of the charge to delocalize on aggregates of planarized polymer backbones plays a significant role in determining the doping mechanism. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The thermoelectric properties of semiconducting polymers are influenced by both the carrier concentration and the morphology that sets the pathways for charge transport. A combination of optical, morphological, and electrical characterization is used to assess the effect of the role of disorder on the thermoelectric properties of thin films of poly(3‐hexylthiophene) (P3HT) doped with 2,3,5,6‐tetrafluoro‐7,7,8,8‐tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ). Controlled morphologies are formed by casting blends of regioregular (RR‐P3HT) and regiorandom (RRa‐P3HT) and then subsequently doped with F4TCNQ from the vapor phase. Optical spectroscopy and X‐ray scattering show that vapor phase doping induces order in the disordered regions of thin films and increases the long‐range connectivity of the film. The thermoelectric properties are assessed as a function of composition and it is shown that while the Seebeck coefficient is affected by structural ordering, the electrical conductivity and power factor are more strongly correlated with the long‐range connectivity of ordered domains.

    more » « less
  3. Thin films of amorphous small molecule semiconductors are widely used in organic light emitting displays and have promising applications in solar cells and thermoelectric devices. Adding dopants increases the conductivity of organic semiconductors, but high concentrations of dopants can disrupt their structural ordering, alter the shape of the electronic density of states in the material, and increase the effects of Coulomb interactions on charge transport. Electrical doping of the solution processable hole-transport material 2,2′,7,7′-tetrakis[ N , N -di(4-methoxyphenyl)amino]-9,9′-spirobifluorene (spiro-OMeTAD) was studied with 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F 4 TCNQ) as a p-type dopant. Infiltration of F 4 TCNQ from the vapor phase into films of spiro-OMeTAD provided a route to highly doped films with up to 39 ± 2 mol% doping. Structural characterization confirmed that the films remain amorphous even at the highest doping levels with no apparent phase separation. We quantitatively determined the carrier concentration using UV-Vis spectroscopy to interpret the evolution of the electrical conductivity. Over the range of carrier concentrations (10 19 –10 20 1 cm −3 ), the electrical conductivity increased no more than linearly with carrier concentration, while the thermopower had a small increase with carrier concentration. The trends in conductivity and thermopower were related to the unique electronic structure of spiro-OMeTAD, which is able to support two carriers per molecule. Temperature-dependent conductivity measurements were used to further analyze the transport mechanism. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Efficient doping of polymer semiconductors is required for high conductivity and efficient thermoelectric performance. Lewis acids, e.g., B(C6F5)3, have been widely employed as dopants, but the mechanism is not fully understood. 1:1 “Wheland type” or zwitterionic complexes of B(C6F5)3are created with small conjugated molecules 3,6‐bis(5‐(7‐(5‐methylthiophen‐2‐yl)‐2,3‐dihydrothieno[3,4‐b][1,4]dioxin‐5‐yl)thiophen‐2‐yl)‐2,5‐dioctyl‐2,5‐dihydropyrrolo[3,4‐c]pyrrole‐1,4‐dione [oligo_DPP(EDOT)2] and 3,6‐bis(5''‐methyl‐[2,2':5',2''‐terthiophen]‐5‐yl)‐2,5‐dioctyl‐2,5‐dihydropyrrolo[3,4‐c]pyrrole‐1,4‐dione [oligo_DPP(Th)2]. Using a wide variety of experimental and computational approaches, the doping ability of these Wheland Complexes with B(C6F5)3are characterized for five novel diketopyrrolopyrrole‐ethylenedioxythiophene (DPP‐EDOT)‐based conjugated polymers. The electrical properties are a strong function of the specific conjugated molecule constituting the adduct, rather than acidic protons generated via hydrolysis of B(C6F5)3, serving as the oxidant. It is highly probable that certain repeat units/segments form adduct structures inp‐type conjugated polymers which act as intermediates for conjugated polymer doping. Electronic and optical properties are consistent with the increase in hole‐donating ability of polymers with their cumulative donor strengths. The doped film of polymer (DPP(EDOT)2‐(EDOT)2) exhibits exceptionally good thermal and air‐storage stability. The highest conductivities, ≈300 and ≈200 S cm−1, are achieved for DPP(EDOT)2‐(EDOT)2doped with B(C6F5)3and its Wheland complexes.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    One of the most effective ways to tune the electronic properties of conjugated polymers is to dope them with small‐molecule oxidizing agents, creating holes on the polymer and molecular anions. Undesirably, strong electrostatic attraction from the anions of most dopants localizes the holes created on the polymer, reducing their mobility. Here, a new strategy utilizing a substituted boron cluster as a molecular dopant for conjugated polymers is employed. By designing the cluster to have a high redox potential and steric protection of the core‐localized electron density, highly delocalized polarons with mobilities equivalent to films doped with no anions present are obtained. AC Hall effect measurements show that P3HT films doped with these boron clusters have conductivities and polaron mobilities roughly an order of magnitude higher than films doped with F4TCNQ, even though the boron‐cluster‐doped films have poor crystallinity. Moreover, the number of free carriers approximately matches the number of boron clusters, yielding a doping efficiency of ≈100%. These results suggest that shielding the polaron from the anion is a critically important aspect for producing high carrier mobility, and that the high polymer crystallinity required with dopants such as F4TCNQ is primarily to keep the counterions far from the polymer backbone.

    more » « less