Ground-state electron transfer in all-polymer donor:acceptor blends enables aqueous processing of water-insoluble conjugated polymers

Tiefeng Liu, Johanna Heimonen, Qilun Zhang, Chi Yuan Yang, Jun Da Huang, Han Yan Wu, Marc Antoine Stoeckel, Tom P.A. van der Pol, Yuxuan Li, Sang Young Jeong, Adam Marks, Xin Yi Wang, Yuttapoom Puttisong, Asaminew Y. Shimolo, Xianjie Liu, Silan Zhang, Qifan Li, Matteo Massetti, Weimin M. Chen, Han Young WooJian Pei, Iain McCulloch, Feng Gao, Mats Fahlman, Renee Kroon, Simone Fabiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8454
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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