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  1. Abstract

    Self‐doping is a particular doping method that has been applied to a wide range of organic semiconductors. However, there is a lack of understanding regarding the relationship between dopant structure and function. A structurally diverse series of self‐n‐doped perylene diimides (PDIs) is investigated to study the impact of steric encumbrance, counterion selection, and dopant/PDI tether distance on functional parameters such as doping, stability, morphology, and charge‐carrier mobility. The studies show that self‐n‐doping is best enabled by the use of sterically encumbered ammoniums with short tethers and Lewis basic counterions. Additionally, water is found to inhibit doping, which concludes that thermal degradation is merely a phenomenological feature of certain dopants, and that residual solvent evaporation is the primary driver of thermally activated doping. In situ grazing‐incidence wide‐angle X‐ray scattering studies show that sample annealing increases the π–π stacking distance and shrinks grain boundaries for improved long‐range ordering. These features are then correlated to contactless carrier‐mobility measurements with time‐resolved microwave conductivity before and after thermal annealing. The collective relationships between structural features and functionality are finally used to establish explicit self‐n‐dopant design principles for the future design of materials with improved functionality.

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  2. Abstract

    Two‐dimensional coordination polymers (2DCPs) have been predicted to exhibit exotic properties such as superconductivity, topological insulating behavior, catalytic activity, and superior ion transport for energy applications; experimentally, these materials have fallen short of their expectation due to the lack of synthesis protocols that yield continuous, large crystallite domains, and highly ordered thin films with controllable physical and chemical properties. Herein, the fabrication of large‐area, highly ordered 2DCP thin films with large crystallite domains using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) approaches is described. It is demonstrated that defects and the packing motifs of 2DCP thin films may be controlled by adjusting the vapor–vapor and vapor–solid interactions of the metal and organic linker precursors during the CVD fabrication process. Such control allows for the fabrication of defects‐controlled 2DCP thin films that show either semiconducting or metallic behavior. The findings provide the first demonstration of tuning the electrical properties of sub 100 nm‐thick continuous 2DCP thin films by controlling their electronic landscape through defect engineering. As such, it is determined that large‐area, highly ordered 2DCP thin films may undergo a semiconducting to metallic transition that is correlated to changes in morphology, crystalline domain sizes, crystallite orientation, defect interactions, and electronic structure.

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  3. Self-doping is an essential method of increasing carrier concentrations in organic electronics that eliminates the need to tailor host—dopant miscibility, a necessary step when employing molecular dopants. Self-n-doping can be accomplished using amines or ammonium counterions as an electron source, which are being incorporated into an ever-increasingly diverse range of organic materials spanning many applications. Self-n-doped materials have demonstrated exemplary and, in many cases, benchmark performances in a variety of applications. However, an in-depth review of the method is lacking. Perylene diimide (PDI) chromophores are an important mainstay in the semiconductor literature with well-known structure-function characteristics and are also one of the most widely utilized scaffolds for self-n-doping. In this review, we describe the unique properties of self-n-doped PDIs, delineate structure-function relationships, and discuss self-n-doped PDI performance in a range of applications. In particular, the impact of amine/ammonium incorporation into the PDI scaffold on doping efficiency is reviewed with regard to attachment mode, tether distance, counterion selection, and steric encumbrance. Self-n-doped PDIs are a unique set of PDI structural derivatives whose properties are amenable to a broad range of applications such as biochemistry, solar energy conversion, thermoelectric modules, batteries, and photocatalysis. Finally, we discuss challenges and the future outlook of self-n-doping principles. 
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    Introducing charge carriers is of paramount importance for increasing the efficiency of organic semiconducting materials. Various methods of extrinsic doping, where molecules or atoms with large/small reduction potentials are blended with the semiconductor, can lead to dopant aggregation, migration, phase segregation, and morphology alteration. Self-doping overcomes these challenges by structurally linking the dopant directly to the organic semiconductor. However, for their practical incorporation into devices, self-doped organic materials must be cast into thin-films, yet processing methods to allow for the formation of continuous and uniform films have not been developed beyond simple drop-casting. Whilst self-doped organic molecules afford the remarkable ability to position dopants with molecular precision and control of attachment mode, their steric bulk inevitably disrupts the crystallization on surfaces. As such, there is great interest in the development of processing modalities that allow deposited molecules to converge to the thermodynamic minimum of a well-ordered and highly crystalline organic thin film instead of getting trapped in local disordered minima that represent metastable configurations. By contrasting drop casting, ultrasonic deposition, and physical vapor deposition, we investigate the free energy landscape of the crystallization of sterically hindered self-doped perylene diimide thin films. A clear relationship is established between processing conditions, the crystallinity and order within the deposited films, the dopant structures and the resulting spin density. We find physical vapor deposition to be a robust method capable of producing smooth, continuous, highly ordered self-doped organic small molecule thin-films with tailored spin concentrations and well-defined morphologies. 
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