Ion Coordination and Chelation in a Glycolated Polymer Semiconductor: Molecular Dynamics and X-ray Fluorescence Study

Micaela Matta, Ruiheng Wu, Bryan D. Paulsen, Anthony J. Petty, Rajendar Sheelamanthula, Iain McCulloch, George C Schatz, Jonathan Rivnay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Polythiophenes bearing glycolated side chains have rapidly surged as the highest performing materials for organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) because of their ability to conjugate volumetric ion penetration with high hole mobility and charge density. Among them, p(g2T-TT) has one of the highest figures of merit. Our work provides an atomistic picture of the p(g2T-TT)-electrolyte interface in the "off"state of an OECT, expected to be dominated by cation-polymer interactions. Using a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and X-ray fluorescence, we show how different anions effectively tune the coordination and chelation of cations by p(g2T-TT). At the same time, softer and hydrophobic anions such as TFSI- and ClO4- are found to preferentially interact with the p(g2T-TT) phase, further enhancing the polymer-cation chelation. We highlight how the stronger hydrophobic nature of TFSI- causes its preferential accumulation at the polymer interface, further enhancing the anion-enabled cation-polymer chelation. Besides opening the way for a full study of electrolyte doping mechanisms in operating devices, our results suggest that tailoring the electrolyte for different applications and materials might be a viable strategy to tune the performance of mixed conducting devices.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7301-7308
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 4 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-15
Acknowledgements: M.M. and G.C.S. were supported by NSF grant CMMI1848613. RW, BDP, and J.R. gratefully acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation grant no. NSF DMR1751308. This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) BRIDGES at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) through allocation CHE190029. This work made use of the IMSERC at
Northwestern University, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205), the State of Illinois, and the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN). Portions of this work were performed at the DuPont-Northwestern-Dow Collaborative Access Team (DND-CAT) located at Sector 5 of the Advanced Photon Source (APS). DND-CAT is supported by Northwestern University, The Dow Chemical Company, and DuPont de Nemours, Inc. This research used
resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357.


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