Polyelectrolyte-Based Capacitors and Transistors
Abstract: Polymers are very attractive materials that can be tailored for specific needs and functionalities. Based on their chemical structure, they can for instance be made electrically insulating or semiconducting with specific mechanical properties. Polymers are often processable from a solution, which enables the use of conventional low-cost and high-volume manufacturing techniques to print electronic devices onto flexible substrates. A multitude of polymer-based electronic and electrochemical devices and sensors have been developed, of which some already has reached the consumer market.This thesis focuses on polarization characteristics in polyelectrolyte-based capacitor structures and their role in sensors, transistors and supercapacitors. The fate of the ions in these capacitor structures, within the polyelectrolyte and at the interfaces between the polyelectrolyte and various electronic conductors (a metal, a semiconducting polymer or a network of carbon nanotubes), is of outermost importance for the device function. The humidity-dependent polarization characteristics in a polyelectrolyte capacitor are used as the sensing probe for wireless readout of a passively operated humidity sensor circuit. This sensor circuit can be integrated into a printable low-cost passive sensor label. By varying the humidity level, limitations and possibilities are identified for polyelectrolyte-gated organic field-effect transistors. Further, the effect of the ionic conductivity is investigated for polyelectrolyte-based supercapacitors. Finally, by using an ordinary electrolyte instead of a polyelectrolyte and a high-surface area (supercapacitor) gate electrode, the device mechanisms proposed for electrolyte-gated organic transistors are unified.
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