High-Efficiency Ion-Exchange Doping of Conducting Polymers

Ian E. Jacobs, Yue Lin, Yuxuan Huang, Xinglong Ren, Dimitrios Simatos, Chen Chen, Dion Tjhe, Martin Statz, Lianglun Lai, Peter A. Finn, William G. Neal, Gabriele D'Avino, Vincent Lemaur, Simone Fratini, David Beljonne, Joseph Strzalka, Christian B. Nielsen, Stephen Barlow, Seth R. Marder, Iain McCullochHenning Sirringhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Molecular doping—the use of redox-active small molecules as dopants for organic semiconductors—has seen a surge in research interest driven by emerging applications in sensing, bioelectronics, and thermoelectrics. However, molecular doping carries with it several intrinsic problems stemming directly from the redox-active character of these materials. A recent breakthrough was a doping technique based on ion-exchange, which separates the redox and charge compensation steps of the doping process. Here, the equilibrium and kinetics of ion exchange doping in a model system, poly(2,5-bis(3-alkylthiophen-2-yl)thieno(3,2-b)thiophene) (PBTTT) doped with FeCl3 and an ionic liquid, is studied, reaching conductivities in excess of 1000 S cm−1 and ion exchange efficiencies above 99%. Several factors that enable such high performance, including the choice of acetonitrile as the doping solvent, which largely eliminates electrolyte association effects and dramatically increases the doping strength of FeCl3, are demonstrated. In this high ion exchange efficiency regime, a simple connection between electrochemical doping and ion exchange is illustrated, and it is shown that the performance and stability of highly doped PBTTT is ultimately limited by intrinsically poor stability at high redox potential.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2102988
JournalAdvanced Materials
StatePublished - Aug 21 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-23
Acknowledgements: I.E.J acknowledges funding through a Royal Society Newton International Fellowship. Financial support from the European Research Council for a Synergy grant SC2 (no. 610115) and from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R031894/1) is gratefully acknowledged. Y.L. thanks the European Commission for a Marie–Sklodowska–Curie fellowship. For Ph.D. fellowships D.S. thanks the EPSRC CDT in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future (Grant No. EP/L015889/1), L.L. the EPSRC CDT in graphene technology, and D.T. the Jardine Foundation and Cambridge Commonwealth European and International Trust. S.B. and S.R.M. thank National Science Foundation (through the DMREF program, DMR-1729737). This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The authors thank Yadong Zhang for some dopant synthesis, and Mohamed Al-Hada for assistance with XPS measurements.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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