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J Phys Chem B. 2005 Oct 20;109(41):19335-44.

Molecular ordering and 2D conductivity in ultrathin poly(3-hexylthiophene)/gold nanoparticle composite films.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.


This paper reports the first comparison of the structure and electrical conductivity properties of spin cast (SC) and Langmuir-Schaeffer (LS) films of regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). In addition, the effect of incorporating highly monodisperse Au nanoparticles (NPs), with a core diameter of approximately 5 nm, into SC and LS P3HT films is described. A detailed picture of molecular organization in the films has been obtained using ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray reflectivity. Film morphology was correlated with pseudo-two-dimensional conductivity measured using scanning electrochemical microscopy, with P3HT in the semiconducting regime. It was found that SC films, which were slightly thicker than those formed with the LS technique, exhibited greater organization. This resulted in an order of magnitude higher lateral conductivity for the SC films. Inclusion of Au NPs (50 wt %) into both SC and LS films resulted in the formation of uniform and relatively flat (rms roughness approximately 1 nm) composite films. Surprisingly, the addition of NPs did not disrupt the characteristic crystal structure found for the native P3HT films. The effect of Au NPs on film lateral conductivity was found to be determined by the distribution of Au NPs within the polymer, which varied significantly between SC and LS films. Whereas Au NPs aggregated into hexagonally packed clusters in SC films, NPs in LS films were predominantly uniformly distributed between the lamella bilayer. It was found that, while the inclusion of Au NPs caused the lateral conductivity to decrease in SC films, in LS films, the lateral conductivity increased by a factor of 2.

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