Molecular Doping Directed by a Neutral Radical

Jian Liu, Bas van der Zee, Diego R. Villava, Gang Ye, Simon Kahmann, Max Kamperman, Jingjin Dong, Li Qiu, Giuseppe Portale, Maria A. Loi, Jan C. Hummelen, Ryan C. Chiechi, Derya Baran, L. Jan Anton Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Molecular doping makes possible tunable electronic properties of organic semiconductors, yet a lack of control of the doping process narrows its scope for advancing organic electronics. Here, we demonstrate that the molecular doping process can be improved by introducing a neutral radical molecule, namely nitroxyl radical (2,2,6,6-teramethylpiperidin-i-yl) oxyl (TEMPO). Fullerene derivatives are used as the host and 1,3-dimethyl-2-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-1H-benzo[d]imidazoles (DMBI-H) as the n-type dopant. TEMPO can abstract a hydrogen atom from DMBI-H and transform the latter into a much stronger reducing agent DMBI•, which efficiently dopes the fullerene derivative to yield an electrical conductivity of 4.4 S cm–1. However, without TEMPO, the fullerene derivative is only weakly doped likely by a hydride transfer following by an inefficient electron transfer. This work unambiguously identifies the doping pathway in fullerene derivative/DMBI-H systems in the presence of TEMPO as the transfer of a hydrogen atom accompanied by electron transfer. In the absence of TEMPO, the doping process inevitably leads to the formation of less symmetrical hydrogenated fullerene derivative anions or radicals, which adversely affect the molecular packing. By adding TEMPO we can exclude the formation of such species and, thus, improve charge transport. In addition, a lower temperature is sufficient to meet an efficient doping process in the presence of TEMPO. Thereby, we provide an extra control of the doping process, enabling enhanced thermoelectric performance at a low processing temperature.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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