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Surface confined controlled synthesis of polymers: PEDOT on copper

by FRosei last modified May 30, 2010 - 15:08

This is a press release

A team of scientists from Canada and the US have demonstrated that a metal surface can be used to synthesize arrays of conjugated polymer chains of PEDOT (the most widely used conductive polymer). An inert precursor molecule is initially deposited onto the supporting surface. When this molecule reaches the substrate (a facet of crystalline copper), the surface subsequently acts both as template and catalyst for the polymerization reaction. High resolution scanning tunneling microscopy performed under ultrahigh vacuum conditions reveals the step by step formation of PEDOT polymer arrays. Surprisingly, the molecular elements were found to be organized in an upright orientation. This unusual structure was confirmed by density functional theory calculations. The research team speculates that this polymerization approach employing the substrate could be extended to many other molecules to form molecular wires from a variety of building blocks. This work is currently in press in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.