Material strategies for black-to-transmissive window-type polymer electrochromic devices

Svetlana V. Vasilyeva, Pierre M. Beaujuge, Shujun Wang, Joseph E. Babiarz, Vincent W. Ballarotto, John R. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Black-to-transmissive switching polymer electrochromic devices (ECDs) were designed using a set of spray-processable cathodically coloring polymers, a non-color-changing electroactive polymer poly(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinyloxy- 4-yl methacrylate) (PTMA) as the charge-compensating counter electrode, and a highly conducting gel electrolyte (6.5 mS cm-1). The color "black" was obtained by utilizing (1) individual copolymers absorbing across the visible spectrum, and (2) blends and bilayers of several polymer electrochromes with complementary spectral absorption. Neutral-state black and ink-like dark purple-blue (or "ink-black") donor-acceptor (DA) copolymers composed of the electron-donor 3,4-propylenedioxythiophene (ProDOT) and the electron-acceptor 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole (BTD) building units, which possess relatively homogeneous absorption profiles across the visible spectrum, were chosen for their propensity to switch to transmissive states upon electrochemical oxidation. A blend of magenta and cyan polymers (PProDOT-(CH2OEtHx)2 and P(ProDOT-BTD-ProDOT), respectively) was produced with the goal of generating the same dark purple-blue color as that obtained with the "ink-black" DA copolymer. While the multi-polymer ECDs demonstrate high contrasts (up to 50%T), and switch from a saturated purple-blue color (L* = 32, a* = 13, b* = -46) to a light green-blue transmissive state (L* = 83, a* = -3, b* = -6), devices made with the DA electrochromic copolymers switch more than two times faster (0.7 s to attain 95% of the full optical change) than those involving the polymer blends (1.6 s), and exhibit more neutral achromatic colors (L* = 38, a* = 5, b* = -25 for the colored state and L* = 87, a* = -3, b* = -2 for the bleached state, correspondingly). The results obtained suggest that these materials should prove to be applicable in both transmissive- (window-type) and reflective-type ECDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1022-1032
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 27 2011


  • conjugated polymer
  • electrochromic device
  • electrochromism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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