Friday, July 22, 2011

Synonymous terms in chemistry and materials science: “conducting polymer” and “conjugated polymer”

Conducting polymers are often called conjugated polymers due to their macromolecular bond structure with alternating single and double bonds in the polymer chain: conducting polymers typically are organic materials possessing an extended conjugated π-electron system along a polymer backbone [1-3]. Such polymers become conducting polymers by providing unoccupied energy states for extra electrons or electron deficiencies (holes) and a macromolecular architecture for relatively unhindered charge carrier movement.

Polymeric materials with such structural characteristics are or are derived from, for example, polyacetylene, polypyrrole, polythiophene, polyaniline and poly(p-phenylene). Electrical properties and performance of conjugated-polymer materials can be enhanced by doping with either electron donors or electron acceptors. The doping process can also be employed to derive polymeric semiconductors (semiconducting polymers). Notice that the term “semiconjugated polymer” is not a synonym for “semiconducting polymer.”

Keywords: electronic materials, polymer chemistry, macromolecules, electrical conductivity

References and suggested reading
[1] Arno Kraft: Conducting Polymers; pages 341 to 377 in Organic Molecular Solids - Properties and Applications. Edited by William Jones, CRC Press, Boca Raton and New York, 1997.
[2] Steinke's Tutorial: Conducting Polymers [].
[3] Mohd Hamzah Harun, Elias Saion, Anuar Kassim, Noorhana Yahya and Ekramul Mahmud: Conjugated Conducting Polymers: A brief Overview. JASA 2, January 2007 [].

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