Fuel Cell Materials and Polymers for Macromolecular Electronics
The common theme of this research program is electroactive organic materials and polymer films. The program bridges polymer synthesis, materials science, organic electronics and electrochemistry. Our strategy is to understand how the structure and morphology of polymers and organic materials affects electrical, electrochemical, and optical properties. We use this information to synthesize and study new materials onto which specific properties are conferred.
One theme concerns the polymer science and electrochemistry of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Fuel cells are akin to batteries in which the reagents are continually fed to electrodes. When the fuel and oxidant are hydrogen and oxygen, respectively, the product is water and electricity. The fuel cell generates electricity as long as reagents continue to flow to the electrodes. The program involves aspects of monomer design and polymerization, solution and solid-state characterization of polymers, the study of proton and water mobility, investigations of solid state electrochemistry in polymeric media, the electrochemistry of gas diffusion electrodes, and fuel cell studies.
Another theme concerns optical properties of pi -conjugated polymer films . The goal is to understand relationships between structure and function. This is part of our program that contributes to a science: macromolecular electronics - a science that bridges molecular electronics and conventional microelectronics. Areas of specific interest include electroluminescent polymers, organic photovoltaics, and micropatterning of conjugated polymers.