Impact of Side Chain Extension on the Morphology and Electrochemistry of Phosphonated Poly(Ethylenedioxythiophene) Derivatives

Publication Name

Advanced Materials Technologies


One factor with great bearing on the electrochemical performance of conjugated polymers is the film morphology. A balance between crystalline and amorphous domains needs to be achieved for the polymer to have an optimal ionic-electronic conductance. Here, the morphological and electrochemical properties of poly(ethylenedioxythiophene) polymers functionalized with phosphonate groups separated by methylene and butylene alkyl spacers from the backbone are compared. Extending the spacer from methylene to butylene increases structural ordering in the solid state as revealed by grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering. However, the ordered domains are only short range, suggestive of a paracrystalline morphology in which ordered regions are separated by amorphous regions. This has a negative impact on the intermolecular charge transport. The longer spacer appears to have impeded the uptake of hydrated counterions, seen by the increase in the ionization potential and energy requirement for electrochemical switching, as well as the decrease in the volumetric capacitance. These results elucidate the advantages of having the phosphonate pendant group close to the backbone, separated only by a methylene spacer. This synthetic design likely facilitates hydrated counterions to accumulate around the polar phosphonate groups, close to the doped backbone where they can easily compensate the charge carriers formed upon oxidation.

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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