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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Electronic structure of disordered conjugated polymers: Polythiophenes


Electronic structure of disordered semiconducting conjugated polymers was studied. Atomic structure was found from a classical molecular dynamics simulation and the charge patching method was used to calculate the electronic structure with the accuracy similar to the one of density functional theory in local density approximation. The total density of states, the local density of states at different points in the system and the wavefunctions of several states around the gap were calculated in the case of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and polythiophene (PT) systems to gain insight into the origin of disorder in the system, the degree of carrier localization and the role of chain interactions. The results indicated that disorder in the electronic structure of alkyl substituted polythiophenes comes from disorder in the conformation of individual chains, while in the case of polythiophene there is an additional contribution due to disorder in the electronic coupling between the chains. Each of the first several wavefunctions in the conduction and valence band of P3HT is localized over several rings of a single chain. It was shown that the localization can be caused in principle both by ring torsions and chain bending, however the effect of ring torsions is much stronger. PT wavefunctions are more complicated due to larger interchain electronic coupling and are not necessarily localized on a single chain.

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