Effect of polymorphism regioregularity and paracrystallinity on charge transport in poly(3-hexyl-thiophene) [P3HT] nanofibers
We investigate the relationship between molecular order and charge-transport parameters of a crystalline conjugated polymer poly(3-hexyl-thiophene) (P3HT) with a particular emphasis on its different polymorphic structures and regioregularity. To this end atomistic molecular dynamics is employed to study an irreversible transition of the metastable (form I') to the stable (form I) P3HT polymorph caused by side-chain melting at around 350~K. The predicted side-chain and backbone-backbone arrangements in unit cells of these polymorphs are compared to the existing structural models based on X-ray electron diffraction and solid-state NMR measurements. Molecular ordering is further characterized by the paracrystalline dynamic and static nematic order parameters. The temperature-induced changes of these parameters are linked to the dynamics and distributions of electronic coupling elements and site energies. We demonstrate that a small concentration of defects in side-chain attachment (90\% regioregular P3HT) leads to a significant (factor of ten) decrease in charge-carrier mobility. This reduction is due to an increase of the intermolecular part of the energetic disorder and can be traced back to the amplified fluctuations in backbone-backbone distances i.e. paracrystallinity. The simulated hole mobilities are in excellent agreement with experimental values obtained for P3HT nanofibers.