Conformational Studies of Self-Organized Regioregular Poly(3-dodecylthiophene)s using Non-contact Atomic Force Microscopy in Ultra High Vacuum Condition

Shukichi Tanaka A B. Grevin A P. Rannou A Hitoshi Suzuki A Shinro Mashiko
Conformations of one of the variations of -conjugated poly-alkylthiophene, poly(3-dodecylthiophene)s (P3DDT)s on the surface in ultra high vacuum (UHV) were investigated by non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) operated by frequency-modulation mode (FM-mode). From individual molecules to several multi-layered ones, polymer chains on the surface were clearly resolved on conducting highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) substrates and insulating mica ones, respectively. Solvent evaporation was found to have two stages, which influenced the diffusion, ordering, and adhesion processes of polymer chains on the substrate. To keep the ordered conformations of deposited polymer chains when they are transferred from ambient condition to UHV, these evaporation processes should be carefully considered. The initial conformation of polymers on the substrate was found to depend strongly on the lattice matching conditions and interactions between polymers and substrates. Formations of stripe-like structures of P3DDT polymers were found on the mica substrates, which is promising for device application.