Single molecule spectroscopy of polyfluorene chains reveals β-phase content and phase reversibility in organic solvents

Alfonso Brenlla, Francisco Tenopala-Carmona, Alexander L. Kanibolotsky, Peter J. Skabara, Ifor David William Samuel, Juan Carlos Penedo-Esteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Conjugated polymers are an important class of organic semiconductors that can be deposited from solution to make optoelectronic devices. Among them, poly(9,9′-dioctylfluorene) (PFO) has distinctive optical properties arising from its ability to adopt an ordered planar conformation (β phase) from a disordered glassy phase (α phase). The β phase has attractive optical properties, but the precise mechanism of its formation in solution remains unknown. Here, we have combined specifically tailored polymer synthesis and surface-passivation strategies to provide the first spectroscopic characterization of single PFO chains in solution at room temperature. By anchoring PFO molecules at one end on an anti-adherent surface, we show that isolated chains can adopt the β-phase conformation in a solvent-dependent manner. Furthermore, we find that individual PFO chains can reversibly switch multiple times between phases in response to solvent-exchange events. The methodology presented here for polymer synthesis and immobilization is widely applicable to investigate other luminescent polymers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMatter
VolumeIn press
Early online date9 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Oct 2019

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