: Despite the array of applications for cationic polythiophenes (CPTs), there is still a need for structure-function guidelines and mechanistic understanding of their solution- and solid-state properties. This work presents a solution- and solid-state investigation of the effect of O-alkylation proximity on the hydrogen bonding (H-bonding) capabilities of alkoxy-CPTs, based on comparing an imidazolium alkoxy CPT with strong cation-pi, pi+ and positive charge-assisted hydrogen bonding (+CAHB) capabilities (PIMa), with two isothiouronium alkoxy CPTs with two-point +CAHB capabilities (PT1 & PT2), which have short and long alkoxy side chains, respectively. Our results show that a closer proximity of O-alkylation strengthens the +CAHB capabilities of PT1: in aqueous solutions, PT2 aggregates have a stronger interaction with cationic EPR spin probes than aggregates of PIMa and PT1, which in turn show a similar extent of repulsion towards the cationic spin probes. In solid-state, atomic force microscopy (AFM) shows that PIMa generates dendritic structures onto mica, with features of diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA), indicating strong interactions with the anionic substrate due to a high configurational entropy during spreading, regardless of being drop-casted from water or 1,4-dioxane-water (W-DI), despite the latter disturbing H-bonding due to selective solvation. PT1 is also capable of generating dendritic structures resembling ballistic aggregation (BA). However, this occurs only when casting from water, since W-DI generates island-like aggregates resembling attachment limited aggregation (ALA), which is the morphology generated by PT2 regardless of the solvent. Finally, spin-coated films of PIMa and PT1 show similar dispersivity of the surface free energy (SFE), which in turn is larger than that in PT2 films, which are also more affected when casted from W-DI, presenting much larger decreases of dispersivity. These results constitute a novel empirical structure-function guideline that could be useful for optimal design and/or processing of alkoxy CPTs. For example, dendritic patterns have recently gained attention since the colloidal droplet drying is related to engineering applications including inkjet printing, biosensing, and functional material design, while the SFE is relevant for opto- and bio-electronic applications of conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs). This information could also be useful when analyzing previous results obtained from alkoxy CPTs with different side chain lengths.

Enhancement of charge-assisted hydrogen bond capabilities due to O-alkylation proximity in alkoxy cationic polythiophenes: solution- and solid-state evidence via EPR, AFM and surface free energy

Fattori, Alberto;Cangiotti, Michela;Ottaviani, M Francesca;
2022-01-01

Abstract

: Despite the array of applications for cationic polythiophenes (CPTs), there is still a need for structure-function guidelines and mechanistic understanding of their solution- and solid-state properties. This work presents a solution- and solid-state investigation of the effect of O-alkylation proximity on the hydrogen bonding (H-bonding) capabilities of alkoxy-CPTs, based on comparing an imidazolium alkoxy CPT with strong cation-pi, pi+ and positive charge-assisted hydrogen bonding (+CAHB) capabilities (PIMa), with two isothiouronium alkoxy CPTs with two-point +CAHB capabilities (PT1 & PT2), which have short and long alkoxy side chains, respectively. Our results show that a closer proximity of O-alkylation strengthens the +CAHB capabilities of PT1: in aqueous solutions, PT2 aggregates have a stronger interaction with cationic EPR spin probes than aggregates of PIMa and PT1, which in turn show a similar extent of repulsion towards the cationic spin probes. In solid-state, atomic force microscopy (AFM) shows that PIMa generates dendritic structures onto mica, with features of diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA), indicating strong interactions with the anionic substrate due to a high configurational entropy during spreading, regardless of being drop-casted from water or 1,4-dioxane-water (W-DI), despite the latter disturbing H-bonding due to selective solvation. PT1 is also capable of generating dendritic structures resembling ballistic aggregation (BA). However, this occurs only when casting from water, since W-DI generates island-like aggregates resembling attachment limited aggregation (ALA), which is the morphology generated by PT2 regardless of the solvent. Finally, spin-coated films of PIMa and PT1 show similar dispersivity of the surface free energy (SFE), which in turn is larger than that in PT2 films, which are also more affected when casted from W-DI, presenting much larger decreases of dispersivity. These results constitute a novel empirical structure-function guideline that could be useful for optimal design and/or processing of alkoxy CPTs. For example, dendritic patterns have recently gained attention since the colloidal droplet drying is related to engineering applications including inkjet printing, biosensing, and functional material design, while the SFE is relevant for opto- and bio-electronic applications of conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs). This information could also be useful when analyzing previous results obtained from alkoxy CPTs with different side chain lengths.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2698330
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