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Chem Soc Rev. 2010 Jul;39(7):2354-71. doi: 10.1039/b914956m. Epub 2010 Jan 21.

Semiconducting polymers: the Third Generation.

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  • 1University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA.


There has been remarkable progress in the science and technology of semiconducting polymers during the past decade. The field has evolved from the early work on polyacetylene (the First Generation material) to a proper focus on soluble and processible polymers and co-polymers. The soluble poly(alkylthiophenes) and the soluble PPVs are perhaps the most important examples of the Second Generation of semiconducting polymers. Third Generation semiconducting polymers have more complex molecular structures with more atoms in the repeat unit. Important examples include the highly ordered and crystalline PDTTT and the ever-growing class of donor-acceptor co-polymers that has emerged in the past few years. Examples of the latter include the bithiophene-acceptor co-polymers pioneered by Konarka and the polycarbazole-acceptor co-polymers pioneered by Leclerc and colleagues. In this tutorial review, I will summarize progress in the basic physics, the materials science, the device science and the device performance with emphasis on the following recent studies of Third Generation semiconducting polymers: stable semiconducting polymers; self-assembly of bulk heterojunction (BHJ) materials by spontaneous phase separation; bulk heterojunction solar cells with internal quantum efficiency approaching 100%; high detectivity photodetectors fabricated from BHJ materials.

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