Semiconducting organic-inorganic nanocomposites comprising conjugated polymers (CPs) and semiconducting nanocrystals (NCs) represent an important class of functional materials. The ability to organize CPs and NCs into self-assembled nanostructures in close proximity may enable efficient charge or energy transfer between them for use in flexible electronics, light-emitting displays, and photovoltaics. Herein we report the crafting of one-dimensional (1D) functional nanocomposites composed of all-conjugated diblock copolymers and CdSe nanorods (NRs) via two consecutive self-assembly processes, namely, self-assembly of poly(3-hexylselenophene)-block-poly(3-butylselenophene) (denoted P3HS-b-P3BS) diblock copolymers into nanofibers, followed by self-assembly of P3HS-b-P3BS nanofibers and CdSe NRs to yield P3HS-b-P3BS-CdSe NR nanocomposites. Notably, P3HS-b-P3BS diblock copolymers are first rationally designed and synthesized, exhibiting a narrow optical bandgap and forming nanofibers due to strong interchain π-π stacking (i.e., first self-assembly). Subsequently, the addition of CdSe NRs into P3HS-b-P3BS nanofiber solution results in the formation of 1D P3HS-b-P3BS-CdSe NR nanocomposites driven by the van der Waals interaction between aliphatic ligands on the surface of CdSe NRs and the hexyl side chains of P3HS-b-P3BS and the coordination interaction between the selenium of P3HS and the surface of CdSe NRs (i.e., second self-assembly). Quite intriguingly, an integrated Monte Carlo simulation and experimental study reveals that CdSe NRs are aligned parallel to the long axis of P3HS-b-P3BS nanofibers in an end-to-end mode at low concentration of CdSe. When high concentration of CdSe NRs is introduced, coexistence of the side-by-side and layer-by-layer assemblies of CdSe NRs along P3HS-b-P3BS nanofibers is yielded. Photoluminescence quenching of CdSe NRs is observed, suggesting an efficient charge transfer between CdSe and P3HS-b-P3BS. Such self-assembled conjugated diblock copolymer-quantum rod nanocomposites may find applications in optics, optoelectronics, and sensors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 21674024, 21320102005, and 21774026) and Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2016YFA0203301). We gratefully acknowledge the support from Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility of China for using the BL14B1 and BL16B1 beamlines.
© 2018 American Chemical Society.