April 23, 2024

A high-conductivity N-type polymeric ink for printed electronics

Linkoping University in Sweden has developed a stable, high-conductivity polymer ink. This breakthrough opens the door to innovative printed electronics with high energy efficiency. These results were published inĀ Nature Communications.

The development of lightweight and flexible electronic components has been made possible by electrically conducting polymers, such as organic biosensors and solar cells, light-emitting diodes, and transistors.

A technique known as “doping” can tune the electrical properties of conducting polymers. To alter the properties of the conducting polymers, different dopant molecules can be added to them. The dopant determines whether the polymer can conduct electricity through the motion of negatively charged electrons (an “n” conductor) or positively charged holes. The most widely used conductor polymer today is PEDOT: PSS. The PEDOT: PSS is a compelling conductor with many appealing features, including high electrical conductivity and excellent ambient stability. It’s also commercially available as an aqueous dispersion. Many electronic devices, however, require a combination of p-types/n-types to function. There is currently no PEDOT: PSS equivalent for n-types.

Linkoping University in Sweden has developed a stable, high-conductivity polymer ink. It is easy to spray the ink onto a surface and make organic electronic devices more affordable.

Linkoping University researchers have developed a conductive n-type polymer ink that is stable in high temperatures and air. This was in collaboration with South Korean colleagues. This new formulation of polymer is called BBL: PEI.

“This is a significant advance that will make the next generation printed electronic devices possible. The lack of a suitable n-type polymer was like walking on one foot when designing functional electronic devices. Simone Fabiano is a senior lecturer at Linkoping University’s Department of Science and Technology. “We can now provide the other leg,” she says.

Chi-Yuan Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at Linkoping University, is one of the principal authors of the article in Nature Communications.

Our new polymer makes it possible to do everything possible with PEDOT.PSS. Chi-Yuan Yang says that the combination of PEDOT.PSS and BBL.PEI opens up new opportunities for developing and maintaining reliable and efficient electronic circuits.

Ink with ethanol is the solvent for the new n-type material. Spraying the ink onto a surface is all it takes to deposit it. This makes organic electronic devices much easier and more affordable. The ink is also more environmentally friendly than other n-type organic conductors containing harmful solvents. Simone Fabiano believes the technology can be used routinely.

“Large-scale production has been made possible, and we are delighted to have achieved this quickly. We expect BBL.PEI has the same impact as PEDOT.PSS. Simone Fabiano says there is still much to do to adapt the ink for different technologies and that we need to know more about the material.

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