Molecules used to make optoelectronic devices can be engineered to have specific properties, making the production of high-performance optoelectronic devices more efficient, according to a paper in Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.
The molecules used to make optoelectronic devices can be engineered to balance the chemical interactions within them and optimise their properties for specific applications, according to a review paper published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.
This paper, by researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Japan, proposes engineering strategies that could advance the manufacture of a range of devices.
Optoelectronic devices convert electricity into light, or light into electricity, and are integral to an increasing number of devices. For example, many television and mobile device displays are made with optoelectronic organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Optoelectronics are also central to solar-powered devices, fibre optic communication and some electronic chips.
Many materials that are used to make optoelectronics consist of “π-conjugated” molecules that feature a complex form of chemical bonding in which many electrons are shared between many atoms. This bonding confers electronic and optical properties that are ideal for optoelectronics, but also leads to limitations. For example, at room temperature, most of these materials are solid and, therefore, unsuitable for flexible devices. What’s more, π-conjugated molecules tend to be insoluble in solvents and difficult to work with in printing technology.
However, these properties can be changed by attaching alkyl chains to the π-conjugated molecules (alkyl chains have a backbone of carbon atoms, but can vary in length and branching structure). Scientists lack a complete understanding of how alkyl chains affect the properties of π-conjugated molecules, but Fengniu Lu and Takashi Nakanishi of NIMS have reviewed a range of studies to determine the fundamental rules of the process.
(Since 2005, Dr. Nakanishi has himself invented a way to control the self assembly of linear alkyl chains, such as alkylated-fullerenes, to π-conjugated molecules. In addition, he recently developed an intriguing technique to create luminescent, room temperature “liquid” π-conjugated molecules by wrapping the π-moiety up with several branched alkyl chains.)
To assess the effects of attached alkyl chains, the NIMS team collated research that studied the properties of π-conjugated molecules modified with specific alkyl chains. Some studies demonstrated that different types of alkyl chains, solvent polarity, temperature and chain–substrate interactions led to the assembly of π-conjugated molecules into various two- and three-dimensional structures.
Other studies showed that alkyl chains with certain structures allowed the formation of “thermotropic” liquid crystalline materials — which have properties between those of hard solids and soft liquids — as well as the formation of materials that were “isotropic” liquids at room temperature and from which photoconducting liquid crystals or gels could be formed. The authors describe this strategy as “alkyl-π engineering” in their review article.
The researchers conclude that changes in the properties of alkylated-π molecules depend upon the precise balance of the interactions among the π-conjugated units as well as static interactions (known as van der Waals forces) among the alkyl chains. Different alkyl chains affect the balance of these interactions, leading to different molecular structures and properties. This insight will allow researchers to deliberately engineer π-conjugated molecules to have specific properties, making the production of high-performance optoelectronic devices more efficient.
For further information contact:
Dr. Takashi Nakanishi
International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA),
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
More information about the research paper:
Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. Vol. 16 (2015) 014805
Alkyl-π engineering in state control toward versatile optoelectronic soft materials
Fengniu Lu and Takashi Nakanishi
Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM) is the leading open access, international journal for outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science. Our audience is the international materials community across the disciplines of materials science, physics, chemistry, biology as well as engineering.
The journal covers a broad spectrum of materials science research including functional materials, synthesis and processing, theoretical analyses, characterization and properties of materials. Emphasis is placed on the interdisciplinary nature of materials science and issues at the forefront of the field, such as energy and environmental issues, as well as medical and bioengineering applications
For more information about the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, please contact
TITLE: Publishing Director
National Institute for Materials Science
Science and Technology of Advanced Materials
25.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces
25.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Health and Medicine
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy