Living, chain-growth methods for synthesizing conjugated polymers have the potential to access to new materials with varying sequences, lengths and end-groups. We recently used these methods to synthesize conjugated materials with random, block and gradient sequences of a poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) backbone and side-chain fullerenes (PC61BM). These polymers were evaluated as compatibilizers in photovoltaic devices with P3HT:PC61BM as the active layer. Devices containing the random copolymer exhibited higher and more stable power conversion efficiencies than the control device, representing a promising new scaffold for stabilizing bulk heterojunction photovoltaics. In addition, this presentation will discuss our recent computational and experimental efforts to expand these synthetic methods to more structurally complex monomers (e.g., thienothiophene), which revealed new reaction pathways.
Prof. Anne McNeil is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry and Macromolecular Science and Engineering, as well as an HHMI Professor, at the University of Michigan. Her research spans organometallic catalysis, redox active small molecules, sustainable and degradable polymers. She has won numerous awards for excellence in both teaching and research. Her most recent awards are being inducted as a Fellow into the AAAS and a Guggenheim Fellowship.