Low-Temperature Thermally Annealed Niobium Oxide Thin Films as a Minimally Color Changing Ion Storage Layer in Solution-Processed Polymer Electrochromic Devices.

Author(s) He, J.; You, L.; Tran, D.T.; Mei, J.
Journal ACS Appl Mater Interfaces
Date Published 2019 Jan 30

The limited availability of solution-processable ion storage materials, both inorganic and organic, hinders the adoption of roll-to-roll manufacturing for polymer electrochromic devices (ECDs). The n-type transition metal oxides are known for their ion storage properties. However, the fabrication methods of their amorphous metal oxide thin films typically involve sputtering, thermal deposition, electrical deposition, or sol-gel deposition followed by high-temperature thermal annealing (>300 °C), thus making them incompatible for low-cost roll-to-roll manufacturing on flexible substrates. In this study, we report the synthesis of amorphous niobium oxide(a-NbO) thin films from sol-gel precursors through the combination of photoactivation and low-temperature thermal annealing (150 °C). Coupled with p-type electrochromic polymers (ECPs), solution-processed a-NbO thin films were evaluated as a minimally color changing counter electrode (MCC-CE) material for electrochromic devices. We found that ultraviolet ozone (UVO) treated and 150 °C thermally annealed (UVO-150 °C) a-NbO thin films show excellent electrochemical properties and cycling stability. Notably, a-NbO/ECP-magenta ECD has a high optical contrast of ∼70% and a fast switching time (bleaching and coloring time of 1.6 and 0.5 s for reaching 95% of optical contrast). In addition, the ECD demonstrates a high coloration efficiency of ∼849.5 mC cm and a long cycling stability without a noticeable decay up to 3000 cycles.

DOI 10.1021/acsami.8b16154
ISSN 1944-8252
Citation ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019;11(4):41694177.

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