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Nat Mater. 2008 Oct;7(10):795-9. doi: 10.1038/nmat2272. Epub 2008 Aug 31.

The donor-acceptor approach allows a black-to-transmissive switching polymeric electrochrome.

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The George and Josephine Butler Polymer Research Laboratory, Center for Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


In the context of the fast-growing demand for innovative high-performance display technologies, the perspective of manufacturing low-cost functional materials that can be easily processed over large areas or finely printed into individual pixels, while being mechanically deformable, has motivated the development of novel electronically active organic components fulfilling the requirements for flexible displays and portable applications. Among all technologies relying on a low-power stimulated optical change, non-emissive organic electrochromic devices (ECDs) offer the advantage of being operational under a wide range of viewing angles and lighting conditions spanning direct sunlight as desired for various applications including signage, information tags and electronic paper. Combining mechanical flexibility, high contrast ratios and fast response times, along with colour tunability through structural control, polymeric electrochromes constitute the most attractive organic electronics for tomorrow's reflective/transmissive ECDs and displays. Although red, blue and most recently green electrochromic polymers (ECPs) required for additive primary colour space were investigated, attempts to make saturated black ECPs have not been reported, probably owing to the complexity of designing materials absorbing effectively over the whole visible spectrum. Here, we report on the use of the donor-acceptor approach to make the first neutral-state black polymeric electrochrome. Processable black-to-transmissive ECPs promise to affect the development of both reflective and transmissive ECDs by providing lower fabrication and processing costs through printing, spraying and coating methods, along with good scalability when compared with their traditional inorganic counterparts.

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