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      Soluble narrow band gap and blue propylenedioxythiophene-cyanovinylene polymers as multifunctional materials for photovoltaic and electrochromic applications.

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          A family of soluble narrow band gap donor-acceptor conjugated polymers based on dioxythiophenes and cyanovinylenes is reported. The polymers were synthesized using Knoevenagel polycondensation or Yamamoto coupling polymerizations to yield polymers with molecular weights on the order of 10 000-20 000 g/mol, which possess solubility in common organic solvents. Thin film optical measurements revealed narrow band gaps of 1.5-1.8 eV, which gives the polymers a strong overlap of the solar spectrum. The energetic positions of the band edges were determined by cyclic voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetry and demonstrate that the polymers are both air stable and show a strong propensity for photoinduced charge transfer to fullerene acceptors. Such measurements also suggest that the polymers can be both p- and n-type doped, which is supported by spectroelectrochemical results. These polymers have been investigated as electron donors in photovoltaic devices in combination with PCBM ([6,6]-phenyl C(61)-butyric acid methyl ester) as an electron acceptor based on the near ideal band structures designed into the polymers. Efficiencies as high as 0.2% (AM1.5) with short circuit current densities as high as 1.2-1.3 mA/cm(2) have been observed in polymer/PCBM (1:4 by weight) devices and external quantum efficiencies of more than 10% have been observed at wavelengths longer than 600 nm. The electrochromic properties of the narrow band gap polymers are also of interest as the polymers show three accessible color states changing from an absorptive blue or purple in the neutral state to a transmissive sky-blue or gray in the oxidized and reduced forms. The wide electrochemical range of electrochromic activity coupled with the strong observed changes in transmissivity between oxidation states makes these materials potentially interesting for application to electrochromic displays.

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          Author and article information

          J. Am. Chem. Soc.
          Journal of the American Chemical Society
          Oct 4 2006
          : 128
          : 39
          [1 ] George and Josephine Butler Polymer Research Laboratory and Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7200, USA.


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