Nanocomposites based on highly luminescent nanocrystals and semiconducting conjugated polymer for inkjet printing
In this work nanocomposites based on organic-capped semiconductor nanocrystals formed of a core of CdSe coated with a shell of ZnS (CdSe@ZnS), with different sizes, and a semiconducting conjugated polymer, namely poly[(9,9-dihexylfluoren-2,7-diyl)-alt-(2,5-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene)] (PF-DMB) have been investigated. The nanocomposites are prepared by mixing the pre-synthesized components in organic solvents, thereby assisting the dispersion of the organic-coated nano-objects in the polymer host. UV-vis steady state and time-resolved spectroscopy along with (photo) electrochemical techniques have been performed to characterize the obtained materials. The study shows that the embedded nanocrystals increase the PF-DMB stability against oxidation and, at the same time, extend the light harvesting capability to the visible spectral region, thus resulting in detectable photocurrent signals. The nanocomposites have been dispensed by means of a piezo-actuated inkjet system. Such inks present viscosity and surface tension properties well suited for stable and reliable drop-on-demand printing using an inkjet printer. The fabrication of arrays of single-color pixels made of the nanocomposites and micrometers in size has been performed. Confocal and atomic force microscopy have confirmed that inkjet-printed microstructures present the intrinsic emission properties of both the embedded nanocrystals and PF-DMB, resulting in a combined luminescence. Finally, the morphology of the printed pixels is influenced by the embedded nanofillers.