Flexible and Cellulose-based Organic Electronics

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Organic electronics is the study of organic materials with electronic functionality and the applications of such materials. In the 1970s, the discovery that polymers can be made electrically conductive led to an explosion within this field which has continued to grow year by year. One of the attractive features of organic electronic materials is their inherent mechanical flexibility, which has led to the development of numerous flexible electronics technologies such as organic light emitting diodes and solar cells on flexible substrates. The possibility to produce electronics on flexible substrates like plastic or paper has also had a large impact on the field of printed, electronics where inks with electronic functionality are used for large area fabrication of electronic devices using classical printing methods, such as screen printing, inkjet printing and flexography.Recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of cellulose in organic and printed electronics, not only as a paper substrate but also as a component in composite materials where the cellulose provides mechanical strength and favorable 3D-microstructures. Nanofibrillated cellulose is composed of cellulose fibers with high aspect-ratio and diameters in the nanometer range. Due to its remarkable mechanical strength, large area-to-volume ratio, optical transparency and solution processability it has been widely used as a scaffold or binder for electronically active materials in applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and optoelectronics.The focus of this thesis is on flexible devices based on conductive polymers and can be divided into two parts: (1) Composite materials of nanofibrillated cellulose and the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS and (2) patterning of vapor phase polymerized conductive polymers. In the first part, it is demonstrated how the combination of cellulose and conductive polymers can be used to make electronic materials of various form factors and functionality. Thick, freestanding and flexible “papers” are used to realize electrochemical devices such as transistors and supercapacitors while lightweight, porous and elastic aerogels are used for sensor applications. The second focus of the thesis is on a novel method of patterning conductive polymers produced by vapor phase polymerization using UV-light. This method is used to realize flexible electrochromic smart windows with high-resolution images and tunable optical contrast.

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