Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

E. Bryan Coughlin

Second Advisor

Thomas P. Russell

Third Advisor

Paul Lahti

Subject Categories

Engineering | Polymer Science

Abstract

Polymeric materials are attractive candidates for the fabrication of low cost, large area photovoltaic devices. Controlling the band gap of the electroactive polymer is an essential factor in optimizing the resulting devices. In this dissertation, a methodology for the synthesis of well-defined semiconducting materials with tunable band gaps is described. First, the synthesis, characterization, and computational analysis of a variety of trimers consisting of two 3-hexylthiophene units flanking a central moiety consisting of thiophene, or one of the electron donating monomers isothianaphthene or thieno[3,4,b]thiophene will be described. From this analysis the influences of the electronic and steric structure of the materials will be investigated. Several of these trimers will then be used in the synthesis of well-defined, higher order, oligomers of thiophene and isothianaphthene in varying compositions. Polymerization of these oligomers yields polymers of known sequence allowing the band gap of the polymers to be systematically varied. Finally, preliminary investigations into the development of alternate oligomer core units will be described. The control over the band gap that this method affords will be useful in the optimization of polymeric semiconductor devices.

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