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New publication in Nature Communication

Updated: Feb 5

Water-based conductive inks are vital for the sustainable manufacturing and widespread adoption of organic electronic devices. Traditional methods to produce waterborne conductive polymers involve modifying their backbone with hydrophilic side chains or using surfactants to form and stabilize aqueous nanoparticle dispersions. However, these chemical approaches are not always feasible and can lead to poor material/device performance. Here, we demonstrate that ground-state electron transfer (GSET) between donor and acceptor polymers allows the processing of water-insoluble polymers from water. This approach enables macromolecular charge-transfer salts with 10,000× higher electrical conductivities than pristine polymers, low work function, and excellent thermal/solvent stability. These waterborne conductive films have technological implications for realizing high-performance organic solar cells, with efficiency and stability superior to conventional metal oxide electron transport layers, and organic electrochemical neurons with biorealistic firing frequency. Our findings demonstrate that GSET offers a promising avenue to develop water-based conductive inks for various applications in organic electronics.


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