Improving the durability of nanoparticles and nanofibers

Problem Title

Improving the durability of nanoparticles and nanofibers

Scientific Title

Chemical crosslinking of P3HT copolymers as a route towards physically and chemically robust nanostructures

Student: 
Aidan McKenna
Major(s): 
Chemical Engineering
iCons Concentration: 
Renewable Energy
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2014
Executive Summary 

Poly-3-Hexylthiophene (P3HT) is a common hole-transporting polymer in organic photovoltaics. As a polymer designed to crystallize, P3HT shows spectroscopic signatures of both amorphous and crystalline phases in thin-film preparations, and the interplay between these two phases is believed to be important in driving charge-separation (exciton fission) in thin-films and nanostructured assemblies (nanoparticles and nanofibers).

Crystalline nanofibers of P3HT have attracted a great deal of interest as a way to control structure in active layers, but their inherent fragility is problematic for preparations involving multiple solvents and annealing steps. We are exploring chemical crosslinking of P3HT copolymers as a route towards physically and chemically robust nanostructures with tunable internal structure. Through controlling the reaction parameters of the cross-linking, different kinds of morphologies can be programmed by tuning the concentration of the crosslinking material, initial aggregation state, and the physical properties of the crosslinker.

Problem Keywords: 
nanotechnology
Scientific Keywords: 
Poly-3-Hexylthiophene