Brazilians optimize promising material for flexible electronics

Order of polythiophene: (a) schematic illustration of the experimental process; (bec) ordered polythiophene. Beside a preview of the original, messy material. [Image: Portone et al. - 10.1038 / s41598-019-43719-0]

Flexible electronics

Flexible electronics, or organic electronics , in which components and electronic circuits are made of plastic, is one of the major technological trends today.

It should enable thin and flexible devices and optoelectronic devices - which provide, detect and control light - extremely lightweight and foldable.

There is much research being done for this, an example of which has just been reported by Alberto Portone and a team from USP (University of São Paulo) and the Institute of Nanoscience of Italy.

The team was able to improve the optical and electronic properties of polythiophene. Due to its lightness, flexibility and ease of processing, polythiophene is an organic material which is very attractive because of its mechanical properties and because it is a plastic that carries heat .

"The configuration of polythiophene, if it is processed in the most common way, by spin casting , is quite disorderly, compromising its optical and electronic performance. In our work, the proposal was to order the material, making it much more selective in the emission and absorption of light, "said Professor Marília Junqueira Caldas.

Ordered polythiophene

The arrangement of the organic optoelectronic material was obtained in a surprisingly simple manner. A drop of the polymer in solution was deposited on a support. As it evaporated, a kind of grid was applied over the drop, causing it to present a sequence of parallel grooves. The striation ordered the internal structure of the material.

"With the ordering, the polymer began to absorb and emit light in a very predictable way, enabling stimulated emission of light at frequencies not available in the disordered film.It was a gain in selectivity.In addition, the resulting device was much lighter than others with similar function, based on overlays of various types of semiconductors, "said Marília.

"Our approach demonstrates a viable strategy for directing optical properties through structural control. Optical gain observation opens the possibility of using polythiophene nanostructures as building blocks for organic optical amplifiers and active photonic devices," wrote the team in its article.


 Tailoring optical properties and stimulated emission in nanostructured polythiophene
Alberto Portone, Lucia Ganzer, Federico Branchi, Rodrigo Ramos, Marília J. Caldas, Dario Pisignano, Elisa Molinari, Giulio Cerullo, Luana Persano, Deborah Prezzi, Tersilla Virgili

 Nature Scientific Reports
 Vol. : 9, Article number: 7370 
 DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-019-43719-0

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