Aristide Gumyusenge, Jianguo Mei, Hanying Li, Kenneth R. Graham, Ying Diao, Ge Qu, Vani Singhania, Guobiao Xue, Kamal Butrouna, Yan Zhao, Xikang Zhao
The concept of complementary semiconducting polymer blends (c-SPBs) has been recently proposed to achieve enhanced solution processability and/or melt-processing capability for organic electronics. In the previous study, we demonstrated the impact of conjugation-break spacers of matrix polymers. In the current work, we explore the influence of the side chains of the matrix polymer on the physical properties of the pure polymers and their corresponding c-SPBs, including electrical properties and phase transition behaviors. Six diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP)-based polymers with pentamethylene conjugation-break spacers (CBSs) and various side chains, including branched-alkyl, triethylene glycol (TEG), and siloxane-terminated side chains, were synthesized and characterized. The UV–vis spectra show that the side chains have a noticeable impact on the intermolecular interactions in the solid states. In addition, side chains also have a significant influence on the thermal behaviors of the polymers. Polymers with asymmetric side chains attached to the same DPP unit exhibit lower melting points compared to the congeners with symmetric side chains. The polymer with both branched-alkyl and TEG side chain exhibits the lowest melting point of 104 °C. As for charge transport properties, polymers with branched-alkyl and/or siloxane-terminated side chains give hole mobilities on the same order of magnitude, whereas the polymers with TEG side chains exhibits much lower mobilities. When c-SPBs with a fully conjugated polymer with branched-alkyl side chains are concerned, the c-SPBs of all polymers, except for the polymer with only TEG side chains (TEG-DPP-C5), show hole mobilities 2 orders of magnitude higher than the corresponding pure matrix polymers. In contrast, TEG-DPP-C5 merely presents an improvement of 20 times, which resulted from the incompatibility of TEG side chains from the matrix polymer and the alkyl side chains from the tie chain polymer. These results provide new insights into structural design for semiconducting materials with both high performance and better processability.