Both the mechanical deformability and electronic conductivity of conjugated polymers play important roles in the development of wearable and stretchable electronics. Despite the recent progress and emphasis on achieving highly stretchable and conductive devices, the correlation between the mechanical and conductive properties is poorly understood and remains mostly empirical. The future of flexible electronics relies on the ability to predict and tune the mechanical and conductive properties such that the molecular design of conjugated polymers can be optimized for various applications. Instead of seeking a direct correlation between mechanical and conductive properties, this Progress Report proposes to examine the common microstructural origin for mechanical performance and charge transport in conjugated polymers. Measurements of microstructural information, such as persistence length, chain entanglement, glass transition, liquid crystalline phase transition, and intercrystalline morphology, are desperately needed in the field of conjugated polymers in order to establish connections with both the mechanical/conductive properties and the chemical structures. Conventional experimental methods in the field of flexible polymer physics, such as linear viscoelastic rheometry, open up new avenues for characterizing these microstructural parameters, thereby providing a path toward predicting and designing the molecular structure of conjugated polymers with desired mechanical and conductive properties.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials