Materials Chemistry as defined by IUPAC committee is: “The synthesis, processing, characterization and exploitation of substances that have useful, or potentially useful, properties and applications. The focus of the research is the creation, understanding and development of substances or systems with improved properties that will impact positively on business and personal life. To use chemistry to create substances that may lead to new technological opportunities or significant improvements in existing technology.”
Our materials chemistry research group mainly focuses on conceiving new organic materials, designing efficient (short) synthetic routes to prepare them, and then testing their properties. The types of materials we currently target include organic small molecules, oligomers, and polymers in the form of amorphous, crystalline, and liquid-crystalline materials. We select existing electronically conjugated building blocks, or build new ones, and modify them chemically to rationally engineer their (opto)electronic properties and processability. Our target applications are active components of low-cost consumer electronics like field-effect transistors and solar cells.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is vital for progress and provides additional training for students. Through recently established collaborations with engineers from academia and industry, we have been able to demonstrate field-effect transistors and solar cells from our new materials with competitive performance. High-level calculations produced via collaboration with a theoretical chemist explain observed phenomena and are beginning to aid our chemist’s intuition in predicting the properties of concept molecules, thus guiding our choices of synthetic targets to pursue.
COVER ARTICLE Kim, F.S.; Guo, X.; Watson, M.D.; Jenekhe, S.A. "High-Mobility Ambipolar Transistors and High-Gain Inverters from a Donor-Acceptor Copolymer Semiconductor" Adv. Mater. 2010, 22, 478-82. DOI 10.1002/adma.200901819
Dutta, T.; Woody, K.B.; Parkin, S.R.; Watson, M.D.; Gierschner, J. "Conjugated Polymers with Large Effective Stokes Shift: Benzobisdioxole-based Poly(phenylene ethynylene)s" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 17321-27. DOI 10.1021/ja9068134.
Xin, H.; Guo, X.; Kim, F.S.; Ren, G.; Watson, M.D.; Jenekhe, S.A. "Efficient Solar Cells based on a New Phthalimide-Based Donor-Acceptor Copolymer Semiconductor: Morphology, Charge-Transport, and Photovoltaic Properties" J. Mater. Chem. 2009 DOI 10.1039/b900073a
Guo, X.; Kim, F.S.; Jenekhe, S.A.; Watson, M.D.; "Phthalimide-Based Polymers for High Performance Organic Thin-Film Transistors" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 7206-7. DOI 10.1021/ja810050y
Guo, X. Watson, M.D. "Conjugated Polymers from Naphthalene bisimide" Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 5333-6. DOI 10.1021/ol801918y
Wang, Y.; Watson, M.D. "Bithiophene-Perfluorobenzene Copolymers" Macromolecules, 2008, 41, 8643-7. DOI 10.1021/ma801400v
Wang, Y.; Parkin, S.R.; Gierschner, J.; Watson, M.D. "Highly Fluorinated Benzobisbenzothiophenes" Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 3307-10. DOI 10.1021/ol8003468
Wang, Y.; Parkin, S.R.; Watson, M.D. "Benzodichalcogenophenes with Perfluoroarene Termini" Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 4421-4. DOI 10.1021/ol801569
Dutta, T.; Woody, K.B.; Watson, M.D. "Transition-Metal-Free Synthesis of Poly(phenylene ethynylene)s with Alternating Aryl-Perfluoroaryl Units" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 452-3. DOI 10.1021/ja710546b