Electrochemical modulation of mechanical properties of glycolated polythiophenes

Ilaria Abdel Aziz, Johannes Gladisch, Chiara Musumeci, Maximilian Moser, Sophie Griggs, Christina J. Kousseff, Magnus Berggren, Iain McCulloch, Eleni Stavrinidou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Electrochemical doping of organic mixed ionic-electronic conductors is key for modulating their conductivity, charge storage and volume enabling high performing bioelectronic devices such as recording and stimulating electrodes, transistors-based sensors and actuators. However, electrochemical doping has not been explored to the same extent for modulating the mechanical properties of OMIECs on demand. Here, we report a qualitative and quantitative study on how the mechanical properties of a glycolated polythiophene, p(g3T2), change in situ during electrochemical doping and de-doping. The Young's modulus of p(g3T2) changes from 69 MPa in the dry state to less than 10 MPa in the hydrated state and then further decreases down to 0.4 MPa when electrochemically doped. With electrochemical doping-dedoping the Young's modulus of p(g3T2) changes by more than one order of magnitude reversibly, representing the largest modulation reported for an OMIEC. Furthermore, we show that the electrolyte concentration affects the magnitude of the change, demonstrating that in less concentrated electrolytes more water is driven into the film due to osmosis and therefore the film becomes softer. Finally, we find that the oligo ethylene glycol side chain functionality, specifically the length and asymmetry, affects the extent of modulation. Our findings show that glycolated polythiophenes are promising materials for mechanical actuators with a tunable modulus similar to the range of biological tissues, thus opening a pathway for new mechanostimulation devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2031
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Horizons
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 8 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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