Digital Memory Characteristics of Aromatic Polyimides Based on Pyridine and Its Derivatives

Soluble aromatic polyimides and polyvinyls were prepared by incorporating pyridine moiety and its derivatives in the backbone and the side groups, respectively: 6F-Py-i polymers based on the polyimide backbone (6F-Py-1 to 6F-Py-7) and PVPy-i polymers based on the polyvinyl backbone (PVPy-1 to PVPy-4). All polymers were found to be amorphous. The 6F-Py-i polymers were thermally stable up to 511–545 °C; the PVPy-i polymers were stable up to 362–376 °C. Their glass transitions, thin film densities, molecular orbitals, and band gaps were determined. The electrical devices fabricated with the polymers in an electrode/polymer/electrode structure revealed p-type unipolar write-once-read-many times (namely, permanent) or dynamic random access memory or dielectric behavior, depending on the substituents of the pyridine unit and the film thicknesses. In particular, such digital memory characteristics were found to originate from the pyridine moieties possessing a high charge affinity in the polymers. However, the pyridine moieties were found to still need at least two or more aromatic substituents to get enough power to stabilize charges via utilizing the resonance effects provided by the substituents. Overall, this study demonstrated that the pyridine unit conjugated with two or more aromatic substituents is a very useful component to design and synthesize digital memory materials based on thermally stable polyimides and other high performance polymers. The 6F-Py-i polymers have potential for the low-cost mass production of high-performance programmable unipolar permanent memory devices with very low power consumption.