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.
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).
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