Chloride transport in conductive polymer films for an n-type thermoelectric platform

Byeonggwan Kim, Jong Un Hwang, Eunkyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Cl- transport in a conductive polymer (CP) film was demonstrated for n-type thermoelectric (TE) harvesting. CPs have been considered as an important group of p-type TE materials due to their high TE functionalities plus simple processing steps for a device. In particular, recently emerging p-type ionic CPs can be unique candidates due to their high Seebeck coefficients (S). However, n-type materials based on CPs suffer from very poor TE functionalities, and n-type ionic TE CP materials have not been realized so far. Here, we report the first example of n-type mixed ionic-electronic CP composite (NPC) films. The p-type TE properties of the PEDOT:PSS films was drastically converted into the n-type TE properties in the presence of CuCl2 through metal binding with polymers, thus resulting in the formation of Cl- channels. Fluorescence imaging using Cl- as an indicator and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry mapping confirmed that Cl- is transported in the film from the hot to the cold electrode. In addition, electron spin resonance spectroscopy indicated the major spin density transition from a polaron of PEDOT:PSS to the polymer-bound unpaired electron spin of Cu ions by increasing the CuCl2 content to prove the binding of metal ions with the PSS unit of the polymer chain. These mixed ionic-electronic NPC films recorded a surprisingly high negative S value of over-18.2 mV K-1 and a power factor of 1.7 mW m-1 K-2 at 80% RH with 40 wt% of CuCl2. Taking advantage of this high performance, the CP films were integrated with a p-type CP film as a flexible module-type TE harvester with 10 pairs of p-n legs on CNT electrodes. This TE harvester showed a thermovoltage of 1.55 V for a low temperature gradient of 4.5 K. This high anion transport in a TE CP hydrogel film might be a useful solution for environmentally benign and body-worn electronics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-867
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) grant funded by Korean government (Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, MSIP) through the Global Research Lab (GRL: 2016K1A1A2912753) and Creative Materials Discovery Program (2018M3D1A1058536).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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