Journal article Open Access

Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanoparticles Containing Thiophene-S,S-dioxide: Tuning of Dimensions, Optical and Redox Properties, and Charge Separation under Illumination

Di Maria, Francesca; Zanelli, Alberto; Liscio, Andrea; Kovtun, Alessandro; Salatelli, Elisabetta; Mazzaro, Raffaello; Morandi, Vittorio; Bergamini, Giacomo; Shaffer, Avshalom; Rozen, Shlomo

We describe the preparation of poly(3-hexylthiophene-S,S-dioxide) nanoparticles using Rozen’s reagent - HOF·CH3CN - either on poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) or on preformed P3HT nanoparticles (P3HT-NPs). In the latter case core-shell nanoparticles (P3HT@PTDO-NPs) are formed, as confirmed by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy measurements indicating the presence of oxygen on the outer shell. The different preparation modalities lead to a fine tuning of the chemical-physical properties of the nanoparticles. We show that absorption and photoluminescence features, electrochemical properties, size and stability of colloidal solutions can be finely modulated by controlling the amount of oxygen present. Atomic Force Microscopy measurements on the nanoparticles obtained by nanoprecipitation method from preoxidized P3HT (PTDO-NPs), display spherical morphology and dimensions down to 5 nm. Finally, Kelvin Probe measurements show that the coexistence of p- and n-type charge carriers in all types of oxygenated nanoparticles makes them capable to generate and separate charge under illumination. Furthermore, in core-shell nanoparticles the nanosegregation of the two materials, in different region of the nanoparticles, allows a more efficient charge separation.

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