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Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance of PEDOT:PSS Flexible Bulky Papers by Treatment with Secondary Dopants

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journal contribution
posted on 14.01.2015, 00:00 by Desalegn A. Mengistie, Chang-Hsiao Chen, Karunakara M. Boopathi, Ferry W. Pranoto, Lain-Jong Li, Chih-Wei Chu
For inorganic thermoelectric materials, Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity are interdependent, and hence optimization of thermoelectric performance is challenging. In this work we show that thermoelectric performance of PEDOT:PSS can be enhanced by greatly improving its electrical conductivity in contrast to inorganic thermoelectric materials. Free-standing flexible and smooth PEDOT:PSS bulky papers were prepared using vacuum-assisted filtration. The electrical conductivity was enhanced to 640, 800, 1300, and 1900 S cm–1 by treating PEDOT:PSS with ethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, methanol, and formic acid, respectively. The Seebeck coefficient did not show significant variation with the tremendous conductivity enhancement being 21.4 and 20.6 μV K–1 for ethylene glycol- and formic acid-treated papers, respectively. This is because secondary dopants, which increase electrical conductivity, do not change oxidation level of PEDOT. A maximum power factor of 80.6 μW m–1 K–2 was shown for formic acid-treated samples, while it was only 29.3 μW m–1 K–2 for ethylene glycol treatment. Coupled with intrinsically low thermal conductivity of PEDOT:PSS, ZT ≈ 0.32 was measured at room temperature using Harman method. We investigated the reasons behind the greatly enhanced thermoelectric performance.