Computation-guided design of high-performance flexible thermoelectric modules for sunlight-to-electricity conversion

Xu, Shengduo and Hong, Min and Shi, Xiaolei ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0905-2547 and Li, Meng and Sun, Qiang and Chen, Qixiang and Dargusch, Matthew and Zou, Jin and Chen, Zhigang ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9309-7993 (2020) Computation-guided design of high-performance flexible thermoelectric modules for sunlight-to-electricity conversion. Energy & Environmental Science. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1754-5692


Abstract

Due to the outstanding mechanical endurance and easy scale-up fabrication, printed poly(3,4-ethylenedioxithiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) films are a promising thermoelectric material. However, their low thermoelectric performance, unreasonable device design and insufficient temperature gradient have significantly hindered the development of flexible PEDOT:PSS-based thermoelectric devices for their practical applications. To overcome these challenges, here we propose a novel method combining ethylene glycol pre-treatment and H2SO4 post-treatment plus tetrakis(dimethylamino)ethylene post-treatment in sequence to engineer printed flexible PEDOT:PSS films. The ethylene glycol pre-treatment strengthens the selective removal of excess non-ionized PSS to create a clear path for the further H2SO4 post-treatment, and in turn induces a structural conformation transition of the conjugated carbon chains in PEDOT:PSS films. The final tetrakis(dimethylamino)ethylene post-treatment induces a high power factor of 224 μW m−1 K−2 at room temperature by tuning the oxidation level of the fabricated PEDOT:PSS films. More importantly, we employ thermodynamic numerical analysis to computationally design and assemble a flexible module using the optimized PEDOT:PSS films. Such a module yields a record-high power output density of 3 μW cm−2 at a temperature gradient of 44.5 K induced by harvesting sunlight, and has no notable performance change after mechanical (1000 bending cycles), air stability (30-day air exposure) and thermal stability (20 heating and cooling cycles) tests. This study indicates that our computation-guided module can be widely applied to supply power for micro-watt electronics by virtue of the high-efficiency sunlight-to-electricity conversion.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Future Materials (1 Jan 2017 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Future Materials (1 Jan 2017 -)
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 04:19
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 01:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: sunlight-to-electricity conversion; thermoelectric materials; printed poly(3,4-ethylenedioxithiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) films
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0912 Materials Engineering > 091205 Functional Materials
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0EE01895C
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39288

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