Tunable control of the performance of aqueous-based electrochemical devices by post-polymerization functionalization

Shengyu Cong, Junxin Chen, Bowen Ding, Liuyuan Lan, Yazhou Wang, Chaoyue Chen, Zhengke Li, Martin Heeney*, Wan Yue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Functionalized polymeric mixed ionic-electronic conductors (PMIECs) are highly desired for the development of electrochemical applications, yet are hindered by the limited conventional synthesis techniques. Here, we propose a “graft-onto-polymer” synthesis strategy by post-polymerization functionalization (GOP-PPF) to prepare a family of PMIECs sharing the same backbone while functionalized with varying ethylene glycol (EG) compositions (two, four, and six EG repeating units). Unlike the typical procedure, GOP-PPF uses a nucleophilic aromatic substitution reaction for the facile and versatile attachment of functional units to a pre-synthesized conjugated-polymer precursor. Importantly, these redox-active PMIECs are investigated as a platform for energy storage devices and organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) in aqueous media. The ion diffusivity, charge mobility and charge-storage capacity can be significantly improved by optimizing the EG composition. Specifically, g2T2-gBT6 containing the highest EG density gives the highest charge-storage capacity exceeding 180 F g−1 among the polymer series, resulting from the improved ion diffusivity. Moreover, g2T2-gBT4 with four EG repeating units exhibits a superior performance compared to its two analogues in OECTs, associated with a high μC* up to 359 F V−1 cm−1 s−1, owing to the optimal balance between ionic-electronic coupling and charge mobility. Through the GOP-PPF, PMIECs can be tailored to access desirable performance metrics at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3090-3100
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Horizons
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 13 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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