Impact of Processing Parameters on Conductive Polymer Electroactivity
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Soft-templating techniques have been applied to organic soluble polymer systems that produce a large variety of film morphologies. Film morphology is observed to greatly influence the system’s electrochemical current response. Thiophene-based conjugated systems are templated from chloroform and chlorobenzene solvent systems that are injected with a high-boiling polymer-immiscible liquid (“porogen”) at varying percentages with the intent of creating a highly porous network. The porogen percentages chosen are modeled after literature co-polymeric experiments to find the most co-continuous pore formation (predicted to be 28-34%). Upon electrochemical analysis via cyclic voltammetry, charges that form across the polymer backbone during doping are balanced by available electrolyte ions from solution. Increased polymer surface area facilitates rapid charge balancing interactions during redox processes. Poly(3-hexylthiophene)/chlorobenzene solvent systems utilizing dimethysulfoxide as a porogen generate the most reproducible film morphologies upon optimization of polymer solution drying rate. Films templated from this solvent system show the greatest capacitive behavior while generating the most reproducible and largest normalized current responses (400 mA/g improvement on average compared to chloroform-based solvent system templated with DMSO). The increase in electrical performance of polymer films generated from this soft-templating approach provide promise for a wide scope of applications that include environmentally friendly charge storage systems, consumer display technologies, and biomedical sensors.