To understand the influence of orthogonal conjugation pathways fused directly to π-conjugated polymer backbones, we synthesized and studied three series of thiophene-based model compounds containing benzene, naphthalene, and anthracene peri-substituted central cores as representative acenes. These models were functionalized with methyl groups at the reactive thiophene positions in order to generate and observe oxidized species without complications from follow-up polymerization. The neutral monomers and their oxidized charged counterparts were subjected to cyclic voltammetry, spectroelectrochemistry, and EPR spectroscopy as appropriate, and these results were further corroborated with thorough density functional theory studies. This joint experimental and theoretical analysis allowed us to determine that benzene-based conjugated linkers led to more delocalized charge carriers on account of the quinoidal character maintained within the benzene core. In contrast, anthracene-based linkers displayed very localized carriers due to torsional strain between the adjacent aryl groups and to the local evolution of formal aromatic sextets on the benzo-fused rings orthogonal to the backbone in the quinoidal state. In some cases, the electronics of the thiophene-based substituent dominated the electronic properties of the oxidized species regardless of the nature of the central acene linker. These results highlight the dramatic influence that orthogonal conjugation pathways can exert on the electronic properties of π-conjugated materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry