Spontaneous phase-separated, controlled aggregate structures of photo- and electroactive molecules in polymer matrices are of interest for device fabrication. We show that the self-assembly of octabutoxyphthalocyanine (Pc) in polymer matrices leads to tubular morphology of Pc when the film is prepared with tetrachloroethane (TCE) and subsurface droplet morphology with chloroform. The same morphology is seen with both bisphenol A polycarbonate (BPAPC) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as the matrix. The subsurface morphology results from the rapid association of Pc in the polymer matrix, as the film forms. With the tubular morphology in the films prepared with TCE, percolation threshold is reached with a concentration of Pc as low as 3 % (wt) in the polymer. Such phase-separated self-assembly occurs, without any annealing of the films. Even in the absence of the polymer, Pc crystallized from TCE also shows tubular morphology, whereas it exhibits a columnar morphology with chloroform. X-ray diffraction of Pc crystallized from either solvent shows the columnar stacking of the Pc molecules. However, the morphology is tubular when TCE is used. We attribute the difference in the morphology to the higher viscosity of TCE and the diffusion-limited growth, which causes the tubular morphology, whereas the instantaneous self-assembly in less-viscous chloroform leads to droplets. The solvent effect observed here could be used to tailor the morphology of such photoconductive molecules in polymer matrices.

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Chemistry - A European Journal
Department of Chemistry

Islam, M.R. (Molla R.), & Sundararajan, P. (2011). Tubular or subsurface morphology of octabutoxyphthalocyanine upon self-assembly in polymer matrices: Effect of the casting solvent. Chemistry - A European Journal, 17(22), 6098–6108. doi:10.1002/chem.201003339