The charge transportation in poly(3-butylthiophene) (P3BT)/insulating polymer composites is studied both microscopically and macroscopically. The increased mobility of free charge carriers, in particular hole mobility, contributes to the enhanced electrical conductivity of this semiconductor/insulator composite. The conductivity origin of the composite, as revealed by conductive-atomic force microscopy (C-AFM), comes mainly from the P3BT network, whose carrier mobility has been improved as a result of reduced activation energy for charge transportation upon forming an interface with the insulating matrix. Both the huge interfacial area and interconnected conductive component are morphologically required for the enhanced electrical property of the composite. An increased size of the P3BT domains, which correspondingly reduces the interfacial area between the two components, ruins the enhancement. This study clarifies the mechanism of the higher electrical properties achieved in a semiconducting polymer upon blending with an insulating polymer, which will further promote the development of these low-cost, easily processable, and environmentally stable composites.
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