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Controlling the Morphology of PEDOT:PSS Blend Films with Pre-Deposition Solution Composition and Deposition Technique...

by Mark Dadmun, Joshua Moncada, Luke A Heroux
Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Applied Polymer Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
36 to 43

Understanding the relationships between morphology, fabrication processes, and thermoelectric performance in conducting polymers is essential to the development of high- efficiency organic thermoelectrics as an alternative to commonly used rare metals. Altering the film fabrication process of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) with the addition of high boiling solvents to the precast solution improves the electrical conductivity and significantly increases its Seebeck value. Neutron scattering monitors the changes in the atomic, nanoscale, and mesoscale morphologies of PEDOT:PSS thin films with the addition of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to the aqueous solution prior to film formation and with varying fabrication procedures. The neutron scattering results show a decrease in the deuterated PSS domain size along with systematic variations in PEDOT fibril assemblies in the final blend film with the addition of DMSO to the pre-deposition solution. These structural modifications indicate that the increase in conductivity of PEDOT:PSS blends with addition of DMSO reported in the literature can be ascribed to the disruption of solvated PEDOT assemblies by the DMSO, forming smaller PSS domains in the pre-deposition solution and allowing smoother film formation. These improvements are observed significantly with the addition of just 1% DMSO but continue to modestly improve with the addition of up to 5% DMSO to the PEDOT:PSS blend pre-deposition solution. The fact that the variations in the measured morphology are independent of whether the films were deposited by spin or ultrasonic spray casting methods emphasizes the crucial importance of the structure of the blend in the pre-deposition solution in determining the final thin film blend morphology.