Electrochemical actuation potential of diaminophenazine linked pyrrole derivatives
A novel monomer (Phenazine-2,3-diimino(pyrrole-2-yl)–PDP) derived from the condensation reaction between 2,3-diaminophenazine and a pyrrole derivative has been synthesized as a hinge molecule in the design of a zig-zag polymer with actuation possibility. The monomer was polymerized chemically and electrochemically to produce the new polymer material – polymerized Phenazine-2,3-diimino(pyrrole-2-yl) PPDP. Two very crucial properties of a good actuator material, relate specifically to its solubility testing and electrical conductivity. The hinged polymer material was studied intensively in terms of its spectroscopy; Fourier Transform Infrared - FTIR, 1H’NMR, thermal properties (Differential Scanning Calorimetry-DSC and Thermogravimetric Analysis-TGA) as well as voltammetry and conductivity. Conductivity was evaluated using three different approaches including; 4 probe measurements, plotting of I/V curves based on potentiostatic measurements and an electrochemical impedance experiment using a dielectric Solartron interface. Electrochemical kinetics of the polymer prepared as a thin film at glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was also done and it was clear that the thin film conductivity was vastly different from the compressed pellet conductivity (thick film). The zig-zag polymer was then further modified by homogeneous inclusion of gold nanoparticles to improve conductivity and solubility, in the thick film arrangement. Conductivity of the thin film was studied by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy with the relative charge transfer values being determined for unmodified and modified polymer systems. The solubility testing of the material plays an important role as it is required for a wide range of experimental applications. The zig-zag polymer showed great promise for applications; in dye sensitized solar cells and free standing interpenetrating polymer network (IPN), solubility testing and electrical conductivity would need to be improved in order to be used in these applications.