The thin film microstructure development of functionalized oligothiophenes with branched, thermally removable groups at each end of conjugated cores with five, six, and seven thiophene rings was monitored during their thermal conversion from solution processible precursors to insoluble semiconductor products. The change in end group character provides a comparison of branched vs linear end group functionalization in oligothiophenes. Near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy confirmed that branched α-, ω-substitutions of the precursors strongly influenced the packing of the conjugated core. The quinque- and sexithiophene precursors oriented perpendicular to the substrate, whereas the septithiophene precursor oriented parallel to the substrate, providing one of the first examples of length dependence in oligothiophene orientation. This dependence may be due to a packing mismatch between the conjugated cores and the branched end groups. The convertible septithiophene exhibits four distinct microstructures as it converts from precursor to product that correlate strongly with its field-effect hole mobility in field-effect transistors. The extent of septithiophene order and the surface-relative orientation of its ordered phases clearly influence field-effect transistor performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry