Realizing Intrinsically Stretchable Semiconducting Polymer Films by Nontoxic Additives

Hao Wen Cheng, Song Zhang, Lukas Michalek, Xiaozhou Ji, Shaochuan Luo, Christopher B. Cooper, Huaxin Gong, Shayla Nikzad, Jerika A. Chiong, Yilei Wu, Yu Zheng, Qianhe Liu, Donglai Zhong, Yusheng Lei, Yoko Tomo, Kung Hwa Wei, Dongshan Zhou, Jeffrey B.H. Tok, Zhenan Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Stretchable polymer semiconductors are essential materials to realize soft skin-like electronics. However, most high-mobility semiconducting polymers suffer from poor stretchability and strain-dependent charge carrier mobility. Herein, we report an approach to improve the stretchability of semiconducting polymers while maintaining charge carrier mobility. The strain independent performance was accomplished by incorporating a nontoxic small molecule, namely triacetin (TA), into high-mobility conjugated polymers. We observed that TA molecules substantially increased the stretchability of the high-mobility semiconducting polymer diketopyrrolopyrrole-thienyl-vinyl-thiophene (DPP-TVT), with a crack onset strain >100%, while the neat DPP-TVT polymer only shows a low crack onset strain <25%. The organic field-effect transistor (OFET) devices fabricated using the TA blend films maintain similar charge carrier mobility compared to the neat DPP-TVT-based devices. The influences of TA additive were further characterized, which included reduced glass transition temperature of polymer backbones, decreased modulus, and breakage of the polymer chain aggregations. The TA additive functions as a plasticizer residing in between lamellae layers of semiconducting polymers, which helps to preserve the crystalline molecular packing under deformation. We demonstrated the applicability of this approach by improving the stretchability of various semiconducting polymers using TA and its analog tricaproin. Last, a stretchable OFET array was fabricated with TA blended films, and it showed a well-maintained charge carrier mobility even after 1000 stretch-release cycles at 50% strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2328-2336
Number of pages9
JournalACS Materials Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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