Carrier mobility in doped conjugated polymers is limited by Coulomb interactions with dopant counterions. This complicates studying the effect of the dopant's oxidation potential on carrier generation because different dopants have different Coulomb interactions with polarons on the polymer backbone. Here, dodecaborane (DDB)‐based dopants are used, which electrostatically shield counterions from carriers and have tunable redox potentials at constant size and shape. DDB dopants produce mobile carriers due to spatial separation of the counterion, and those with greater energetic offsets produce more carriers. Neutron reflectometry indicates that dopant infiltration into conjugated polymer films is redox‐potential‐driven. Remarkably, X‐ray scattering shows that despite their large 2‐nm size, DDBs intercalate into the crystalline polymer lamellae like small molecules, indicating that this is the preferred location for dopants of any size. These findings elucidate why doping conjugated polymers usually produces integer, rather than partial charge transfer: dopant counterions effectively intercalate into the lamellae, far from the polarons on the polymer backbone. Finally, it is shown that the IR spectrum provides a simple way to determine polaron mobility. Overall, higher oxidation potentials lead to higher doping efficiencies, with values reaching 100% for driving forces sufficient to dope poorly crystalline regions of the film.
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
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Advanced Materials
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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