Solubility-Induced Ordered Polythiophene Precursors for High-Performance Organic Thin-Film Transistors



With the aim of enhancing the field-effect mobility of self-assembled regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene), P3HT, by promoting two-dimensional molecular ordering, the organization of the P3HT in precursor solutions is transformed from random-coil conformation to ordered aggregates by adding small amounts of the non-solvent acetonitrile to the solutions prior to film formation. The ordering of the precursor in the solutions significantly increases the crystallinity of the P3HT thin films. It is found that with the appropriate acetonitrile concentration in the precursor solution, the resulting P3HT nanocrystals adopt a highly ordered molecular structure with a field-effect mobility dramatically improved by a factor of approximately 20 depending on the P3HT concentration. This improvement is due to the change in the P3HT organization in the precursor solution from random-coil conformation to an ordered aggregate structure as a result of the addition of acetonitrile. In the good solvent chloroform, the P3HT molecules are molecularly dissolved and adopt a random-coil conformation, whereas upon the addition of acetonitrile, which is a non-solvent for aromatic backbones and alkyl side chains, 1D or 2D aggregation of the P3HT molecules occurs depending on the P3HT concentration. This state minimizes the unfavorable interactions between the poorly soluble P3HT and the acetonitrile solvent, and maximizes the favorable ππ stacking interactions in the precursor solution, which improves the molecular ordering of the resulting P3HT thin film and enhances the field-effect mobility without post-treatment.