Ground-state electron transfer in all-polymer donor-acceptor heterojunctions


Doping of organic semiconductors is crucial for the operation of organic (opto)electronic and electrochemical devices. Typically, this is achieved by adding heterogeneous dopant molecules to the polymer bulk, often resulting in poor stability and performance due to dopant sublimation or aggregation. In small-molecule donor–acceptor systems, charge transfer can yield high and stable electrical conductivities, an approach not yet explored in all-conjugated polymer systems. Here, we report ground-state electron transfer in all-polymer donor–acceptor heterojunctions. Combining low-ionization-energy polymers with high-electron-affinity counterparts yields conducting interfaces with resistivity values five to six orders of magnitude lower than the separate single-layer polymers. The large decrease in resistivity originates from two parallel quasi-two-dimensional electron and hole distributions reaching a concentration of ∼1013 cm–2. Furthermore, we transfer the concept to three-dimensional bulk heterojunctions, displaying exceptional thermal stability due to the absence of molecular dopants. Our findings hold promise for electro-active composites of potential use in, for example, thermoelectrics and wearable electronics. 

Nature Materials