Synthesis and Characterization of Isoindigo-Based Polymers with Thermocleavable Side Chains

Kim Bini, Xiaofeng Xu, Mats R. Andersson, Ergang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Stability of bulk heterojunction films for organic solar cells is a critical factor for commercial viability. One method to stabilize these films is to include cleavable side chains, which reduce the solubility of the polymers when removed. In order to study the stabilizing effect of cleavable side chains, a series of random copolymers using isoindigo with 0, 10, 20, 50, and 100% thermally cleavable side chains based on the tert-butyloxycarbonyl (t-BOC) group are synthesized. The polymers show a distinct one-step thermal cleavage of the side chains, with no separable dealkylation and decarboxylation steps. The thermal stability in film is studied with transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The polymer with all t-BOC side chains on isoindigo significantly improves thermal stability with regard to crystal growth and phase separation in film. These results suggest BOC-substitution can be used for large scale processing to produce insoluble polymer films with a high degree of thermal stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700538
Number of pages91
JournalMacromolecular Chemistry and Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • conjugated polymers
  • organic photovoltaics
  • polymer solar cells
  • side chain engineering
  • thermocleavable side chains


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