Resonant x-ray diffraction reveals the location of counterions in doped organic mixed ionic conductors

Lucas Q. Flagg, Jonathan W. Onorato, Christine K. Luscombe, Vinayak Bhat, Chad Risko, Ben Levy-Wendt, Michael F. Toney, Christopher R. McNeill, Guillaume Freychet, Mikhail Zhernenkov, Ruipeng Li, Lee J. Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Organic mixed ionic-electronic conductors (OMIECs) have the potential to enable diverse new technologies, ranging from novel in situ biosensors to flexible energy storage devices and neuromorphic computing platforms. However, their complex behavior in functional films involving electrolyte-induced swelling, ion ingress, and electrochemical doping inhibits rational material design. Of critical importance is an understanding of the specific location of the ions in the volumetrically doped material, yet this information is not readily available. In this report, we present the use of grazing-incidence resonant X-ray diffraction (RXRD, also known as anomalous diffraction) at S and Cl K-edges to determine the structure of a doped, prototypical, semicrystalline polymer OMIEC based on oligo(ethylene glycol) substitution of regioregular polythiophene. The RXRD measurement provides two key insights. Quantitative analysis of the RXRD allows the determination of the position of the ion relative to the polymer backbone in the crystalline regions. We find that the anion is relatively distant from the backbone, nearer to the lamella mid-plane naively in conflict with expected Coulombic attraction between the ion and the doped polymer polaron. Comparison of RXRD to Cl- fluorescence (total Cl-) allows determination of the relative order of doping between the crystalline and amorphous regions. We find preferential doping of the crystalline regions. Both insights, the preferential doping of crystals at low potential and the specific location of the counterion with respect to the polymer backbone, are critical to developing a microscopic understanding of transport in OMIECs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3960-3967
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023

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