CEMS research team finds enhanced functionalities for electrochromic gels

Feb. 23, 2015 - Post-doctoral associate Hong Chul Moon, Regents Professor Timothy P. Lodge, and C. Daniel Frisbie, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Head, recently published pioneering research on "Solution Processable, Electrochromic Ion Gels for Sub-1 V, Flexible Displays on Plastic" in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

Electrochromic devices (ECDs) using electrochromic (EC) materials have been used for numerous applications including car mirrors, smart windows, optical displays, and sensors. But, ECDs are often expensive and rigid in their material properties. With this recent research, the CEMS team has determined that novel electrochromic gels may bypass those limitations, leading to new types of low-cost, flexible color-changing devices and electronic displays.

The research team first treated an ion gel composed of a polystyrene-based block copolymer and an imidazolium compound with ferrocene and methyl viologen, which is redox active. The team then sandwiched the resulting electrochromic material between flexible transparent plastic conductors and showed that applying less than 1 V reversibly switched the device between colorless (oxidized) and colored (reduced) states. The researchers note that the device, which was made via simple solution processing, functioned stably in air for 24 hours.

Written by Mitch Jacoby, Chemical & Engineering News

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