Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Sankaran Thayumanavan

Second Advisor

Paul M. Lahti

Third Advisor

Michael D. Barnes

Subject Categories

Chemistry | Materials Chemistry


Understanding structure-property relationship of molecules is imperative for designing efficient materials for organic semiconductors. Organic semiconductors are based on π-conjugated molecules, either small molecules or macromolecules such as dendrimers or polymers. Charge transport through organic materials is one of the most important processes that drive organic electronic devices. We have investigated the charge transport properties in various molecular designs based on dendrons, dendron-rod-coil molecular triads, and conjugated oligomers. The charge transport properties were studied using bottom contact field effect transistors, in which the material was deposited by spin coating.

In case of dendrons, their generation and density of charge transporting functionalities were found to play a significant role in influencing the charge transport properties. In case of macromolecules such as dendron-rod-coil molecules, the solid state morphology plays a significant role in influencing the charge transport properties. While these molecules exhibit only electron transporting behavior in field-effect transistor measurements, ambipolar charge transport is observed in the diode configuration.

Short conjugated oligomers, based on donor-acceptor-donor design, provide model systems for conjugated polymers. Effect of varying the donor functionality on optoelectronic and charge transport properties was studied in short donor-acceptor-donor molecules. While donor-acceptor-donor molecules are well known in the literature, the effect of molecular composition on the charge transport properties is not well understood. We designed molecules with 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole as the acceptor and thiophene based donor functionalities. These molecules exhibit a reduced bandgap, good solution processability and charge mobility making them interesting systems for application in organic photovoltaics.

Cyclopentadithiophene (CPD) based materials have been widely utilized as organic semiconductors due to their planar nature which favors intermolecular charge transport. While most CPD based materials are hole transporting, incorporation of electron withdrawing fluorinated substituents imparts n-type behavior to these molecules. This change in charge transport properties has often been attributed to the lowering of the LUMO energy level due to the increased electron affinity in the molecule. We designed CPD based semiconductors in which the bridgehead position was functionalized with electron withdrawing ketone or dicyanomethylene group and the -positions were substituted with phenyl or pentafluorophenyl groups. Both the phenyl substituted molecules are p-type materials, even though the dicyanomethylene group lowers the LUMO by 500 meV as compared to the carbonyl compound. The pentafluorophenyl substituted molecules are n-type materials even as their LUMO energy levels are about 300 meV higher than the corresponding phenyl substituted molecules. This indicates that charge transport behavior is not an exclusive function of the frontier orbital energy levels.