Aromaticity as a Guide to Planarity in Conjugated Molecules and Polymers


Conjugated molecules and polymers have the ability to be transformative semiconducting materials; however, to reach their full potential a detailed understanding of the factors governing the molecular structure is crucial for establishing design principles for improved materials. Creating planar or “locking” structures is of particular interest for tuning electronic properties. While noncovalent locks are an effective strategy for increasing planarity, the precise interactions leading to these planar structures are often unknown or mischaracterized. In this study, we demonstrate that aromaticity can be used to investigate, interpret, and modify the complex physical interactions which lead to planarity. Furthermore, we clearly illustrate the important role aromaticity has in determining the structure through torsional preferences and find that modern noncovalent locks utilize hyperconjugation to alter aromaticity and increase planarity. We envision that our approach and our explanation of prevalent noncovalent locks will assist in the design of improved materials for organic electronics.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry C