A South Korean research group has developed an n-type semiconducting polymer which they claim exhibits high electron mobility and oxidative stability.

Polymer semiconductors, which can be processed on large-area and mechanically flexible substrates at low cost, are considered one of the main components for future plastic electronics. However, they - especially n-type semiconducting polymers - currently lag behind inorganic counterparts in the charge carrier mobility.

The team, made up of scientists from the Pohang University of Science and Technology and the Gyungsang National University, modified an n-type conjugated polymer with semi-fluoroalkyl side chains. These are said to have several unique properties, such as hydrophobicity, rigidity, thermal stability, chemical and oxidative resistance, and the ability to self-organise.

As a result, the modified polymer was shown to form a superstructure composed of polymer backbone crystals and side-chain crystals, resulting in a high degree of semicrystalline order. The team explained that this phenomenon is due to the strong self-organisation of the side chains and boosts charge transport in polymer semiconductors.