My research focuses on the synthesis of conjugated donor-accepter (D-A) polymers for organic photovoltaic (OPV) applications via cross dehydrogenative coupling (CDC). D-A conjugated polymers have drawn lots of attention due to their lowered band gaps, flexibility, high charge mobility, and solvent processability. Conventional synthetic methods (Stille and Suzuki couplings, etc.) of D-A polymers usually involve complicated pre-functionalization steps of monomers, such as halogenations and metalations, which leads to high cost of the resultant materials and the generation of large amounts of hazardous chemical waste. As a cost- and atom-economic strategy, CDC polymerization can eliminate the pre-functionalization steps of monomers by directly activating C-H bond during the polymerization. However, a big problem of the CDC polymerization is homo-coupling, which can cause deterioration in resultant OPV devices. The goal of my research is to develop a more environmentally friendly method to synthesize high-performance D-A conjugated polymers (high MWs and zero homo-coupling defect).
Advisor: Christine Luscombe — Molecular Engineering