Synthesis of Conjugated Polymers and Small Molecules for Organic Light-Emitting Devices and Photodetectors

Author: Petri Murto

Murto, Petri, 2018 Synthesis of Conjugated Polymers and Small Molecules for Organic Light-Emitting Devices and Photodetectors, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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Production cost and environmental impact are the two major concerns that are related to the conventional optoelectronic devices. It is desirable for the modern semiconductors that they are free of toxic/costly metals, they can be processed with low-cost solution-based methods, and their optical, electronic, and mechanical properties can be easily tuned depending on the target application. In this thesis, a range of different conjugated polymers and small molecules are designed and synthesized as semiconductors for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs), and organic photodetectors (OPDs).

In organic light-emitting devices, the emissive molecule is commonly mixed with a charge transporting host matrix, which can be either a small molecule or a conjugated polymer. The latter is beneficial since it does not require deposition of the emitter and matrix components in high vacuum and high temperature conditions. The polymeric materials can be dissolved and printed on a substrate of any desired size and production scale, at room temperature, and even under ambient air. The specific wavelength range of near-infrared (NIR) at λ >700 nm is of interest for a wide range of applications spanning from optical communication to biosensing. However, the low energy of NIR range poses challenges for the materials design, in terms of emission efficiency and light intensity, which are further addressed in this thesis, allowing the fabrication of high-performance NIR-OLEDs and NIR-LECs.

For photodetectors, absorption of a wide spectrum of light is beneficial in biosensing and imaging applications. Low noise and fast charge extraction are necessary for the detection of light at high speeds even at low intensities. These aspects are studied in this thesis by designing new polymers with different absorption, charge transport, and morphological properties in the photoactive layer. Two polymers enabled the fabrication of visible (red) OPDs with a low dark current (the main constituent in the noise), high detectivity, and high photoresponse speed.

Keywords: conjugated polymers, fluorescence, light-emitting electrochemical cell, near-infrared, organic light-emitting diode, organic photodetector, solution processing

Subject: Chemistry thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2018
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Professor Mats Andersson