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Polymers 2015, 7(8), 1410-1426; doi:10.3390/polym7081410

Interdiffusion and Spinodal Decomposition in Electrically Conducting Polymer Blends

1
Polymer Technology, Aalto University, PL 16100, 00076 Aalto, Helsinki, Finland
2
Polymer Research Institute, New York University (NYU) Polytechnic School of Engineering, Six Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lloyd M. Robeson
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 23 July 2015 / Published: 4 August 2015
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Abstract

The impact of phase morphology in electrically conducting polymer composites has become essential for the efficiency of the various functional applications, in which the continuity of the electroactive paths in multicomponent systems is essential. For instance in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells, where the light-induced electron transfer through photon absorption creating excitons (electron-hole pairs), the control of diffusion of the spatially localized excitons and their dissociation at the interface and the effective collection of holes and electrons, all depend on the surface area, domain sizes, and connectivity in these organic semiconductor blends. We have used a model semiconductor polymer blend with defined miscibility to investigate the phase separation kinetics and the formation of connected pathways. Temperature jump experiments were applied from a miscible region of semiconducting poly(alkylthiophene) (PAT) blends with ethylenevinylacetate-elastomers (EVA) and the kinetics at the early stages of phase separation were evaluated in order to establish bicontinuous phase morphology via spinodal decomposition. The diffusion in the blend was followed by two methods: first during a miscible phase separating into two phases: from the measurement of the spinodal decomposition. Secondly the diffusion was measured by monitoring the interdiffusion of PAT film into the EVA film at elected temperatures and eventually compared the temperature dependent diffusion characteristics. With this first quantitative evaluation of the spinodal decomposition as well as the interdiffusion in conducting polymer blends, we show that a systematic control of the phase separation kinetics in a polymer blend with one of the components being electrically conducting polymer can be used to optimize the morphology. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrically conducting polymers; blends; multiple percolation; phase separation; spinodal; interdiffusion; semiconducting polymers electrically conducting polymers; blends; multiple percolation; phase separation; spinodal; interdiffusion; semiconducting polymers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Takala, A.; Takala, P.; Seppälä, J.; Levon, K. Interdiffusion and Spinodal Decomposition in Electrically Conducting Polymer Blends. Polymers 2015, 7, 1410-1426.

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