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Side chains

Jon Eggert Carlé

As earlier stated one of the main advantages of PSCs is that all of the layers in the stack can potentially be processed from solution. This allows for fast and cheap processing on flexible substrates using already established technologies. In order to make the conjugated polymer solution processable one needs to incorporate side chains on the backbone that can provide the material with good solubility in the applied solvent. Many different kinds of side chains have been tested and studied on conjugated polymers within the field of PSC with the most popular being alkanes, alkoxy, ketones and esters, see Figure 1.DOI:10.1002/marc.201200129

Figure 1. Schematic representation of different side chains and their attachment to polythiophene (P3RT).

Besides providing solubility the side chains also have great influence on the blend morphology of BHJ active layer and hereby an effect on the final device performance. Many studies have investigated the effect of changing the nature, the size, the position and the number of side chains, but only a few general rules have emerged from this.DOI:10.1021/ma102164cDOI:10.1016/j.solmat.2009.12.023DOI:10.1021/ma201009nDOI:10.1021/ja901545qDOI:10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2013.07.010DOI:10.1002/marc.201200129DOI:10.1021/ma201501gDOI:10.1021/jp106640r A common rule is that the side chains should be positioned such that it causes a minimum degree of steric hindrance giving a more planar structure in the solid state due to less twisting of the conjugated backbone.DOI:10.1021/ma200576y DOI:10.1039/c1cc13477a Another general trend is that the number of carbons in the side chain should be no less than those in the conjugated backbone in order to obtain polymers with sufficient solubility in common organic solvents.DOI:10.1016/j.solmat.2009.12.023DOI:10.1016/j.synthmet.2010.07.014

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