The aggregation morphologies of conjugated polymers in solutions and solid films are important for their optoelectronic applications. Due to the amorphous state of the polymers, it remains a great challenge to determine their conformations in either liquids or solids. Herein, a ps/fs synchronized 2D IR technique is applied to investigate the molecular conformations of a high-mobility n-type low-bandgap copolymer, N2200, dissolved in CHCl3 and CCl4, and in solid films cast from both solutions by the vibrational cross-angle method. In CCl4, the polymer forms more aggregates and folds more and the backbone dihedral angle of C–C(NDI)/C–S(Thiophene) of its average conformation is about 10° more distorted than that in CHCl3 and the most stable conformation for a free molecule. Anti-intuitively, the solid films cast from both solutions have the same molecular conformation, and the conformation is similar to that of the polar CHCl3 rather than the conformation of the less polar CCl4. The results imply that the interaction between the polymer backbones is probably stronger than its interaction with CCl4, which can naturally guide the rearrangement of polymer chains during the evaporation of solvent molecules. This work also implies that the balance and competition between the polymer/polymer interaction and the polymer/solvent interaction seem to be the dominant factors responsible for what morphology can form in a solid film cast from solution. It is not always true that different molecular conformations must exist in solid films grown from different solutions with different polarity or different extents of aggregates with different conformations.
Direct observation of conformations of a high-mobility n-type low-bandgap copolymer in solutions and solid films
Xinmao Li, Jianxin Guan, Chengzhen Shen, Zhihao Yu, Junrong Zheng; Direct observation of conformations of a high-mobility n-type low-bandgap copolymer in solutions and solid films. J. Chem. Phys. 14 February 2023; 158 (6): 064202. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0134807
Download citation file: