Exploration of Porphyrin-based Semiconductors for Negative Charge Transport Applications Using Synthetic, Spectroscopic, Potentiometric, Magnetic Resonance, and Computational Methods
Organic pi-conjugated materials are emerging as commercially relevant components in electronic applications that include transistors, light-emitting diodes, and solar cells. One requirement common to all of these functions is an aptitude for accepting and transmitting charges. It is generally agreed that the development of organic semiconductors that favor electrons as the majority carriers (n-type) lags behind the advances in hole transporting (p-type) materials. This shortcoming suggests that the design space for n-type materials is not yet well explored, presenting researchers with the opportunity to develop unconventional architectures. In this regard, it is worth noting that discrete molecular materials are demonstrating the potential to usurp the preeminent positions that π-conjugated polymers have held in these areas of organic electronics research.
This dissertation describes how an extraordinary class of molecules, meso-to-meso ethyne-bridged porphyrin arrays, has been bent to these new uses. Chapter one describes vis-NIR spectroscopic and magnetic resonance measurements revealing that these porphyrin arrays possess a remarkable aptitude for the delocalization of negative charge. In fact, the miniscule electron-lattice interactions exhibited in these rigid molecules allow them to host the most vast electron-polarons ever observed in a pi-conjugated material. Chapter two describes the development of an ethyne-bridged porphyrin-isoindigo hybrid chromophore that can take the place of fullerene derivatives in the conventional thin film solar cell architecture. Particularly noteworthy is the key role played by the 5,15-bis(heptafluoropropyl)porphyrin building block in the engineering of a chromophore that, gram for gram, is twice as absorptive as poly(3-hexyl)thiophene, exhibits a lower energy absorption onset than this polymer, and yet possesses a photoexcited singlet state sufficiently energetic to transfer a hole to this polymer. Chapter three describes synthetic efforts that expand the repertoire of readily available meso-heptafluoropropyl porphyrin building blocks. The findings suggest that the remaining challenges to the exploitation of these pigments will be overcome by a sufficiently firm grasp of their subtle electronic structures, and a willingness to eschew the customary strategies of chromophore assembly.
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