Chem Sci. 2023 Jul 14;14(32):8552-8563. doi: 10.1039/d3sc02289g. eCollection 2023 Aug 16.
Sequence-controlled polychalcogenophenes have attracted much interest in terms of synthesis, structure and function in polymer science. For the first time, we developed a new class of alternating block conjugated copolymers denoted as poly(alt-AB)x-b-(alt-AC)y where both blocks are constituted by an alternating copolymer. 3-Hexylthiophene (S), 3-hexylselenophene (Se) and 3-hexyltellurophene (Te) are used as A, B and C units to assemble three sequence-controlled polychalcogenophenes P(SSe)b(STe), P(SSe)b(SeTe) and P(STe)b(SeTe) which are prepared by adding two different Grignard monomers in sequence to carry out Ni(dppp)Cl2-catalyzed Kumada polymerization. The molecular weight, dispersity, and length of each block (x = y) and main-chain sequence can be synthetically controlled via the catalyst transfer polycondensation mechanism. The polymer structures, i.e. alternating block main chain with high side-chain regioregularity, are unambiguously confirmed by 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR. The optical and electrochemical properties of the polymers can be systematically fine-tuned by the composition and ratio of the chalcogenophenes. From GIWAXS measurements, all the polymers exhibited predominantly edge-on orientations, indicating that the packing behaviors of the alternating block polychalcogenophenes with high regioregularity are inherited from the highly crystalline P3HT. P(SSe)b(STe) exhibited a hole OFET mobility of 1.4 × 10-2 cm2 V-1 s-1, which represents one of the highest values among the tellurophene-containing polychalcogenophenes. The tellurophene units in the polymers can undergo Br2 addition to form the oxidized TeBr2 species which results in dramatically red-shifted absorption due to the alternating arrangement to induce strong charge transfer character. The OFET devices using the tellurophene-containing polychalcogenophenes can be applied for Br2 detection, showing high sensitivity, selectivity and reversibility.