Backbone and Side Group Interchain Correlations Govern Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering of Poly(3-hexylthiophene)

Puja Agarwala, Shreya Shetty, Abigail M. Fenton, Burcu Dursun, Scott T. Milner, Enrique D. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying the origin of scattering from polymer materials is crucial to infer structural features that can relate to functional properties. Here, we use our recently developed virtual-site coarse graining to accelerate atomistic simulations and show how various molecular features govern wide-angle X-ray scattering from a conjugated polymer, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). The efficient molecular dynamics simulations can represent the structure and capture the emergence of crystalline order from amorphous melts upon cooling while retaining atomistic details of chain configurations. The scattering extracted from simulations shows good agreement with wide-angle X-ray scattering experiments. Amorphous P3HT exhibits broad scattering peaks: a high-q peak from interchain side-group correlations and a low-q peak from interchain backbone-backbone correlations. During amorphous to crystalline phase transitions, the distance between backbones along the side-group direction increases because of lack of interdigitation in the crystalline phase. Scattering from π-π stacking emerges only after crystallization takes place. Intrachain correlations contribute negligibly to the scattering from the amorphous and crystalline phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 19 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this