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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Molecular additive improves stretchable semiconductors for skin-like electronics

In a paper published in Advanced Materials, researchers report on a molecular additive that improves the performance of stretchable electronics made with a well-known conjugated polymer.

Scientific Achievement

Under strain, stretchable electronics made with a well-known conjugated polymer containing a molecular additive, dioctyl phthalate (DOP), exhibited anisotropic charge-carrier mobilities and stable current output. The additive acted as a molecular spacer to increase the amorphous fraction of chain networks and disrupt crystalline laminar layers.

Significance and Impact

Possible applications for conjugated polymers capable of both electrical functions and deformation under strain include skin-like electronics, soft robotics, and flexible devices for energy harvesting and storage.

Research Details

Testing of DOP-treated polymer electronics showed 2.5-fold higher charge-carrier mobility compared to non-stretched material and stable current when stretched to 100% strain.

Work was performed, in part, at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM).

DOI: 10.1002/adma.202104747

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The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

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