Electrochemically directed self-assembly and conjugated polymer semiconductors for organic electronic applications

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Pillai, Rajesh Gopalakrishna
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The research work presented in this thesis investigates the mechanistic details of conventional as well as electrochemically directed self-assembly of alkylthiosulfates and explores the use of conjugated semiconducting polymers for organic electronic applications. Here, the significance of the use of conjugated polymers is twofold; first, to explore their applications in nanoelectronics and second, the possibility of using them as a top contact on the self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) for molecular electronic applications. Throughout this work, deposition of the organic materials was performed on prefabricated device structures that required no further lithographic or metal deposition steps after modification of the electrodes with the organic molecules. Self-assembly of alkylthiosulfates on gold are reported to form monolayers identical to those formed from the corresponding alkanethiols. However, these self-assembly processes follow more complex mechanisms of monolayer formation than originally recognized. Studies on the mechanism of alkylthiosulfate chemisorption on gold shows that the self-assembly process is influenced by electrolyte and solvent. Plausible mechanisms have been proposed for the role of trace water in the solvent on conventional as well as electrochemically assisted self-assembly of alkylthiosulfates on gold. Electroanalytical and spectroscopic techniques have been used to explore the mechanistic details of electrochemically directed self-assembly of alkylthiosulfates on gold. It has been found that the self-assembly process is dynamic under electrochemical conditions and the heterogeneous electron transfer process between the organosulfur compound and gold is mediated through gold surface oxide and accompanied by corrosion. Conducting polymers are serious candidates for organic electronic applications since their properties can be controlled by the manipulation of molecular architecture. Unique electronic properties of conjugated polypyrrole hybrid materials (PPy0DBS-Li+) with immobile dopant anions and mobile cations have been observed and explained on the basis of movement of the cations in an applied electric field. Based on this principle, functioning polymer resistive memory devices have been demonstrated which can be scalable to lower dimensions for nanoelectronics applications. Finally, proof of concept for using a conducting polymer as a top contact in molecular electronic devices created using electrochemically directed self-assembly is demonstrated.
Self-assembly, Conducting polymers, Alkyl thiosulfate, Organic electronics
Pillai, R. G.; Braun, M. D.; Freund, M. S. (2010) Langmuir, 26(1): 269–276
Pillai, R. G.; Zhao, J. H.; Freund, M. S.; Thomson, D. J. (2008) Advanced Materials, 20(1): 49-53
Zhao, J. H.; Thomson, D. J.; Pillai, R. G.; Freund, M. S. (2009) Applied Physics Letters 94(9): 092413