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Experimental Studies of Ion Transport in PPy(DBS)

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posted on 08.01.2009, 00:00 by Xuezheng Wang, Elisabeth Smela
Lateral ion transport in conjugated polymer films is studied using a special experimental geometry in which the top surface of the film is covered by a transparent ion barrier. Because of the barrier, when the oxidation level of the polymer is switched electrochemically, charge-compensating ions can only enter and leave the polymer from the edges. Since conjugated polymers are electrochromic, the color of the film changes during switching, and this can be monitored to provide information on the oxidation level of different parts of the film. Since the oxidation level cannot change until the cations arrive, the color also directly maps the positions of the cations. This geometry was employed to study cation transport in polypyrrole doped with dodecylbenzenesulfonate, PPy(DBS). Upon reduction, the ions travel in a front from the edges to the center of the film. During the first-ever reduction, this cation front stays sharp, but in subsequent reduction scans the front moves 20−30 times faster and broadens as it moves. The higher the applied voltage, the faster the front moves, with a linear dependence. The velocity of the front also strongly depends on the initial oxidation level of the polymer. During oxidation, on the other hand, the entire film gradually darkens, with no front and no dependence of the switching speed on the applied potential.