US20100238534A1 - Gel polymers containing ionic liquids - Google Patents

Gel polymers containing ionic liquids Download PDF

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US20100238534A1
US20100238534A1 US12/576,969 US57696909A US2010238534A1 US 20100238534 A1 US20100238534 A1 US 20100238534A1 US 57696909 A US57696909 A US 57696909A US 2010238534 A1 US2010238534 A1 US 2010238534A1
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electrochromic
cell
layer
electrochromic layer
electrode
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Bijan Radmard
Gregory A. Sotzing
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Bijan Radmard
Sotzing Gregory A
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Priority to US12/576,969 priority patent/US20100238534A1/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02FDEVICES OR ARRANGEMENTS, THE OPTICAL OPERATION OF WHICH IS MODIFIED BY CHANGING THE OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF THE MEDIUM OF THE DEVICES OR ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE CONTROL OF THE INTENSITY, COLOUR, PHASE, POLARISATION OR DIRECTION OF LIGHT, e.g. SWITCHING, GATING, MODULATING OR DEMODULATING; TECHNIQUES OR PROCEDURES FOR THE OPERATION THEREOF; FREQUENCY-CHANGING; NON-LINEAR OPTICS; OPTICAL LOGIC ELEMENTS; OPTICAL ANALOGUE/DIGITAL CONVERTERS
    • G02F1/00Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics
    • G02F1/01Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics for the control of the intensity, phase, polarisation or colour 
    • G02F1/15Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics for the control of the intensity, phase, polarisation or colour  based on an electrochromic effect
    • G02F1/1514Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics for the control of the intensity, phase, polarisation or colour  based on an electrochromic effect characterised by the electrochromic material, e.g. by the electrodeposited material
    • G02F1/1523Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics for the control of the intensity, phase, polarisation or colour  based on an electrochromic effect characterised by the electrochromic material, e.g. by the electrodeposited material comprising inorganic material
    • G02F1/1525Devices or arrangements for the control of the intensity, colour, phase, polarisation or direction of light arriving from an independent light source, e.g. switching, gating, or modulating; Non-linear optics for the control of the intensity, phase, polarisation or colour  based on an electrochromic effect characterised by the electrochromic material, e.g. by the electrodeposited material comprising inorganic material characterised by a particular ion transporting layer, e.g. electrolyte

Abstract

An electrochromic cell of the present invention may include a first electrically conducting transparent electrode bonded to an electrochemically formed first electrochromic electrode on the surface of the electrode; a second electrically conducting transparent electrode bonded to an electrochemically formed second electrochromic electrode on the surface of the second electrode and a transparent gel polymer electrolyte formed from one or more macromomoners mixed with a plasticizer and an electrolyte salt, the gel polymer containing ionic liquids in contact with both the first and second electrochromic electrodes; the first and second electrochromic electrodes are separated from each other.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCES AND RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/365,125 entitled “GEL POLYMERS CONTAINING IONIC LIQUIDS,” filed Mar. 1, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/657,604 entitled “ELECTROCHROMIC DEVICES CONTAINING IONIC LIQUIDS” filed March 1,2005 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/664,651 entitled “ELECTROCHROMIC DEVICES CONTAINING IONIC LIQUIDS” filed Mar. 23, 2005, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Electrochromism refers to the ability to change the optical properties of a material upon application of a potential. The tunability of the optical properties of conjugated polymers as a function of potential makes them very useful electrochromic materials. Some of the key advantages of conjugated polymers over inorganic electrochromic materials include wide range of color tunability, ease of processing, low operational voltages and extraordinary color retention.
  • Both organic and inorganic materials have been used to design and construct electrochromic devices which work as electrochemical cells; the most simple configuration for one of these devices consist of a four layer assembly, a transparent electronic conductive film (usually ITO) covered by the electroactive material (organic or inorganic), an ionic conductive medium, and another transparent electronic conductive film to complete the cell. The use of only one electroactive film leads to short-life devices. Shortened device life is believed to be caused by the lack of a second electroactive film working as counter electrode; a second electrode would be able to complete the redox process in the cell and reduce or eliminate degradative reactions in the electrolyte. This issue has been addressed by the use of dual type configurations, in which a fifth ion-storage layer, which could also have electrochromic function, is included in the assembly to work as counter electrode. This configuration could be used to obtain two mixed colored states or, using two materials with complementary optical characteristics, enhance the contrast between the previously defined states.
  • Among all the efforts made to obtain all possible combinations of colors in electrochromic devices, the possibility of switching between a transparent and a colored state has attained a lot of attention for its direct application in systems in which a control over the intensity of the light radiation passing through the device is pursued. Materials with the above characteristics can be incorporated into intelligent windows capable of providing constant light intensity irrespective of external illumination. Based on this property conjugated polymers have been proposed and demonstrated as potential candidates for rearview mirrors that eliminate glares, smart optical attenuation systems which could be useful in architectural windows, goggles, and helmets.
  • The common feature of all these applications is that they are able to modify the conditions in which the visible light is perceived by human eye in a fixed situation. The human eye is a factor in the development of these devices because there are substantial differences in the way the eye perceives the visible spectrum under different conditions. Photopic and scotopic visions may be considered when making such systems.
  • There are two kinds of light receptors in human eye: cones and rods. The former is sensitive to even small radiations but cannot perceive the different colors and are used under low illuminations and the latter can yield perceptions of the different colors, but need more radiation to get activated and are predominantly used in well illuminated conditions. The scotopic vision refers to situations wherein the cones are used under poorly illuminated situations and photopic vision is related to the use of rods under well-lit conditions. In each situation the eye is more sensitive to some wavelengths and less to others, so each wavelength has a relative weight in the overall spectrum perceived by the eye. The relative values for each wavelength have been standardized by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE).
  • There is a continued need for electrochromic devices with high switching speeds, that can be used near a subjects eyes, and that have good contrast between colored or transmissive states. There is a continued need for gel-electrolytes for electrochromic systems that are able to transport the ions efficiently and are highly transparent.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the present invention include electrochromic cells that may enact a color change and devices that use electrochromic cells wherein the electrochromic cells contain a UV curable crosslinking gel polymer with an ionic liquid.
  • The electroschromic cells of the invention may include a first transparent substrate onto which a first electrically conductive transparent electrode has been bonded onto the surface of the first substrate and a second transparent substrate onto which a second electrically conductive transparent electrode has been bonded onto the surface of the second substrate. First and second eletrochromic layers are then bonded to the first and second electrically conductive transparent electrodes, respectively, and the electrochromic layers are simultaneously contacted by a UV curable solid state cross linking gel containing an ionic liquid that allows substantially no contact between the first and second electrochromic layers. Ionic liquids may be any organic salt with a melting point below about 100° C. and include imidazolium, pyridinium, phosphonium and tetralkylammonium based compounds, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tosylate, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium octyl sulfate, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl sulfate, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(pentafluoroethylsulfonyl)imide, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethane sulfonate, 1,2-Dimethyl-3-propylimidazolium tris(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)methide, 1,2-Dimethyl-3-propylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, 3-Methyl-1-propylpyridinium bis(trifluormethylsulfonyl)imide, 1-Butyl-3-methylpyridinium bis(trifluormethylsulfonyl)imide, 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium chloride, 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium hexafluorophosphate, 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium tetrafluoroborate, n-BMIMPF6, BMIMBF4, phosphonium docecylbenzenesulfonate, phosphonium methanesulfonate, and combinations thereof. In some embodiments of the present invention, the operating temperature of electrochromic cells containing ionic liquids is from about −30° C. to about 100° C.
  • In embodiments of the present invention, the UV curable solid state cross linking gel polymer includes one or more macromonomers, a photoinitiator and an ionic liquid as described above. Macromonomers may be vinyl macromonomers with poly(ethyleneglycol) side chains including poly(ethyleneglycol)ethylether methacrylate (MA), poly(ethyleneglycol) diacrylate (DA), derivatives of MA and DA and combinations and mixtures of these. Photoinitiators may be any agent that initiates a polymerization reaction when exposed to light. In certain embodiments, the photoinitiator initiates polymerization when exposed to UV light. Non-limiting examples of photoinitiators include benzophenone, 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone (DMPAP), dimethoxyacetophenone, xanthone, thioxanthone, and combinations thereof.
  • Embodiments of the present invention include transparent substrates that may be glass, ceramic, plastic vinyl, polycarbonate, polyphosphonate, polyethylene tetraphthalate (PET) or combinations of these and may be rigid or flexible.
  • Electrically conductive transparent electrodes of certain embodiments of the present invention include at least one metal oxide, doped metal oxide, ITO, FTO, SnO2, ZnO, AZO, In2O3, and combinations or mixtures thereof and may also include electrochromic conducting polymers such as PEDO-PSS and/or nanotubes.
  • Embodiments of the present invention include electrochromic layers that may change color or alter the transmittance of visible light through the device as a result of an electrical current passed through the electrochromic layer. In certain embodiments of the invention, the first electrochromic layer may be a cathodic electrochromic conducting polymer including but not limited to compounds such as PEDOT, PPropOT, PEDOP, PPropOP, PTT, PAEM-EDOT and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the second electrochromic layer may be an anodic electrochromic conducting polymer such as but not limited to poly(BEDOT-NMCz). In other embodiments, the first and/or second electrochromic layers include compounds such as transition metal oxides, transition metal complexes, conducting polymers, viologens, polyaniline, polythiophene, WO3, Prussian blue, and combinations thereof. Electrochromic layers may be deposited onto the substrate using a variety of methods including but not limited to electrochemical deposition, spin coating, electrospinning, layer by layer self assembly, chemical casting composition, dip coating or ink jet printing and are formed on electrodes with a current density of about greater than 1 mC/cm2.
  • Electrochromic cells of certain embodiments of the present invention have a contrast of greater than 30%, switching speed from about 0.1 to 40 seconds and less than 75 seconds at temperature less than about −30° C., voltage range from about −10 v to about 10 v preferably about −1 v to about 1.4 v, and have a transmittance of from about 0.1% to about 80% visible light.
  • Embodiments of the invention also include methods by which electrochromic cells containing ionic liquids may be made. En certain embodiments, a gel polymer containing one or more macromonomers, an ionic liquid and a photoinitiator is photopolymerized between a first and second electrochromic layer. The electrochromic may be bound to first and second transparent electrically conductive electrodes which may be bound to first and second transparent substrates.
  • In further embodiments, electrochromic devices that contain electrochromic cells containing ionic liquids may be made by coating a first transparent substrate with a first electrically conductive transparent electrode and coating a second transparent substrate with a second electrically conductive transparent electrode. The first and second coated substrates are then coated with a first and second electrochromic layers, respectively. A UV curable solid state cross linking gel polymer mixture the includes one or more macromonomers, a photoinitiator and an ionic liquid is used to cover the first coated substrate, and the first and second coated substrates are put into contact with the gel polymer mixture. The layers are then sealed between the substrates so that the device is substantially air and water tight. In certain embodiments of the invention, inert spacers that may be beads of glass, vinyl, plastic, ceramic or the like and combinations of these are placed within the gel polymer allowing substantially no contact between the first and second electrochromic layers.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES
  • FIG. 1. is an illustration of a portion of an electrochromic display device.
  • FIG. 2. shows chronocoulometric data obtained during polymerization of EDOT using metallic contact at one point (dotted line), one-side (dashed line), and whole perimeter (solid line) of the ITO glass.
  • FIG. 3. shows the relationship between charge density and polymerization time for a) PBENMCz and b) PEDOT.
  • FIG. 4. shows absorbance spectra of PEDOT and PBENMCz in the visible region.
  • FIG. 5. shows the relationship between charge density and contrast for PEDOT and PBENMCz.
  • FIG. 6. shows the electrochromic response of an electrolyte containing electrochromic cell at room temperature and −30° C. at different biased voltages.
  • FIG. 7. shows the electrochromic response of ionic liquid containing electrochromic cell at room temperature and −30° C. at different biased voltages.
  • FIG. 8. shows temperature versus photopic transmission for an electrolyte containing electrochromic cell showing high and low points of transmission.
  • FIG. 9. shows the transmission at extreme temperatures of ionic liquid containing electrochromic cell.
  • FIG. 10. shows the switching speed versus temperature of ionic liquid containing electrochromic cell.
  • FIG. 11. shows the switching speed versus temperature of electrolyte containing electrochromic cell.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Before the present compositions and methods are described, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular molecules, compositions, methodologies or protocols described, as these may vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used in the description is for the purpose of describing the particular versions or embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention which will be limited only by the appended claims.
  • It must also be noted that as used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a “cell” is a reference to one or more cells and equivalents thereof known to those skilled in the art, and so forth. Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meanings as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. Although any methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of embodiments of the present invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described. All publications mentioned herein are incorporated by reference. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the invention is not entitled to antedate such disclosure by virtue of prior invention.
  • “Optional” or “optionally” means that the subsequently described event or circumstance may or may not occur, and that the description includes instances where the event occurs and instances where it does not.
  • “Transmittance” refers to the ratio of the radiant power transmitted through a material or device to the incident radiant power. Transmittance is usually expressed as a percent. For example, an electrochromic device with a 50% transmittance (at a specific wavelength) will absorb half of the light incident on it and allow half of it to pass through it.
  • “Contrast ratio” is the ratio of the transmittance in the colored state and the transmittance in the bleached state (at a specific wavelength) for an electrochromic device.
  • The “switching speed” of an electrochromic device is the time that an electrochromic device needs to change the optical density from the fully bleached state to the fully colored state.
  • The temperature range over which an eletrochromic device can be operated properly is referred to as the “operating temperature”.
  • Electrochromism refers to the reversible change in optical properties that occurs when a material is oxidized (loss of electrons and charge balance by transport of negative counter ions) or reduced (gain of electrons and charge balance by transport of positive counter ions). Polychromic materials may be used. Electrochromism includes devices that modulate radiation in the near infrared, thermal infrared, visible, and ultraviolet, and microwave regions. Electrochromic materials may be used with the photo-polymerized polymer electrolyte and may include but are not limited to transition metal oxides like WO3, Prussian blue, viologens, conducting polymers like polyanaline and polythiophenes, transition metal complexes, and other materials.
  • The present invention encompasses electrochromic devices that are capable of undergoing an electrochromatic color change that include a gel polymer containing an ionic liquid
  • FIG. 1 shows a general construction of a transmissive type electrochromic display device. The display device has oppositely arranged front and back substrates 101, both may be transparent glasses, plastics, ceramics or the like and combinations of these. A transparent conductive film like ITO is deposited on the inner surface of the front substrate 102, and, as a display working electrode, a first electrochromic layer is formed on the conductive film 103. This display electrode is formed of a first type electrochromic material which assumes a characteristic color in an electrochemically oxidized or reduced state 103. The inner surface of the back substrate 104 is coated with a conductive film 105, and, as a counter electrode, a second electrochromic layer is formed on the back or lower conductive film 106. The counter electrode formed of a second type electrochromic material assumes a characteristic color in an electrochemically reduced or oxidized state, opposite to the state of the first electrochromic material 106. The two substrates are held spaced from each other and may be separated by a sealing material that is applied peripherally of the substrates to surround the electrochromic layers and prevent intrusion of contaminants into the display and prevent material from leaving the cell. The first electrochromic layer and the second electrochromic layer are separated by a polymer gel that includes an ionic liquid 107.
  • The gel polymers described in the present invention contain ionic liquids. Ionic liquids are organic salts with melting points under about 100° C., or lower than for example less than room temperature. Examples of ionic liquids that may be used in the present invention include but are not limited to imidazolium, pyridinium, phosphonium or tetralkylammonium based compounds, for example, 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tosylate, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium octyl sulfate; 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl sulfate; 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(pentafluoroethylsulfonyl)imide; 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide; 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide; 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate; 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide; 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethane sulfonate; 1,2-Dimethyl-3-propylimidazolium tris(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)methide; 1,2-Dimethyl-3-propylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide; 3-Methyl-1-propylpyridinium bis(trifluormethylsulfonyl)imide; 1-Butyl-3-methylpyridinium bis(trifluormethylsulfonyl)imide; 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium chloride; 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium hexafluorophosphate; 1-Butyl-4-methylpyridinium tetrafluoroborate; n-BMIMPF6, BMIMBF4, phosphonium docecylbenzenesulfonate, phosphonium methanesulfonate, and mixtures of these.
  • Ionic liquids allow effective ion transport even at low temperatures. Conventional electrochromic cells have limited operational temperature range since at low temperatures electrolytes do not supportionic conduction in the cell, and at very low temperatures electrolytes may freeze. The use of ionic liquids in gel polymer containing electrochromic cells alleviates this problem creating an electrochromic cell with an operational temperature range from about −30° C. and 95° C.
  • The operating voltage range of electrochromic cells containing a gel polymer with an ionic liquid may be better than that of conventional electrolyte containing electrochromic cells. For example, the operating range of the device described in the present invention may be from about −1 to 1.4 volts. Increasing the voltage range may improve the contrast and a switching speed of the devices that utilize ionic liquids.
  • Furthermore, the use of ionic liquids in electrochromic cells eliminates the need for plasticizers in the gel since ions in the ionic liquid may be capable of catalyzing polymerization.
  • The amount of ionic liquid in the gel polymer can range from about 10% to about 80% by weight, or from about 30% to about 60% by weight. In one embodiment the ionic liquid used in the gel polymer is n-BMIMPF6. Ion transport evaluation of electrochromic devices may be performed using electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM) techniques.
  • In some embodiments, the substrate may be transparent, rigid, flexible, curved, lightweight, impact resistant or a combination of these. Examples of suitable substrates include but are not limited to ceramic, glass and plastic, for example, polycarbonate and polyphosphonate. The substrate supports a transparent conductive inner layer and may serve as a barrier against permeation and diffusion of chemical contaminants into the electrochromic medium, for example oxygen, water or other contaminants. Plastics for example may be coated with layers that greatly reduce the permeation of contaminants into the cell. The substrate may be coated with an electro conductive material such as for example ITO of sufficient thickness to allow electrical conduction or may be coated with layers of non-conducting transparent dielectrics such as TiO2 or SiO2 and subsequently coated with a transparent conductive material like ITO. Alternatively, the substrate may be impregnated with small conductive transparent particles.
  • Electrically conductive transparent materials that may be used for the coating on the inside of the substrate can include but is not limited to metal oxides including In2O3, SnO2, ITO, ZnO, or combination of these as well as conducting polymers and carbon nanotubes. These metal oxides may also be doped with traces of fluorides, antimony or aluminum to improve the conductivity.
  • Electrochromic conducting polymers on a first electrode that may be used with the photo-polymerized gel polymer including an ionic liquid of the present invention include but are not limited to optionally substituted polypyrroles, polyanalines, polythiophenes and others. In some embodiments, the electrochromic conducting polymer for the first electrode are optionally substituted polythiophenes including but not limited to PEDOT or PEDOT prepared by electropolymerization.
  • Electrochromic conducting polymers for the second electrode may be the same or different than the electrochromic conducting polymer of the first electrode and include but are not limited to optionally substituted polythiophene including [poly(bis-EDOT-N-methylcarbazole)] commonly referred to as PBEDOT-NMeCz or PBENMCz. In some embodiments, dual polymer devices use for example PEDOT, PTT, PAEM-EDOT with poly(BEDOT-NMCz) and PAEBEDOT-NmeCz. The electrochromic polymers disclosed herein may be prepared from monomers such as 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT) and bis(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-N-methyl carbazole (BENMCz). Other electrochromic polymers that may be used include those disclosed in Avni, A. Argun. et. al. Multicolored Electrochromism in Polymers: Structures and Devices, Chem. Mater. Reviews (2004) 16(23), 4401-4412, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,791,738 B2 to Reynolds et al., the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • A potentiostat and an electrode may be used to electropolymerize PEDOT onto a transparent conductive substrates from an acetonitrile solution containing from about 20 mM to about 1 mM EDOT at about 1 to about 1.4 V preferably at about 1.3 V (vs Ag/Ag+). PBENMCz may be grown onto transparent conductive substrates from a solution containing about 0.5 to about 5.0 mM, preferably about 1 mM BENMCz with about 0.05 to about 1 M preferably about 0.1 M lithium salt at about 0.6 to about 1.2 V, preferably about 0.7 V (vs Ag/Ag+). FIG. 2 shows chronocoulometric data obtained during polymerization of EDOT using metallic contact at one point (dotted line), one-side (dashed line), and whole perimeter (solid line) of the ITO glass.
  • The gel polymers of the present invention may include a vinyl macromonomer with poly(ethylene glycol) side chains and may be prepared using the macromonomer, and a photoinitiator to compensate for the charge injected into or extracted from the conducting polymer. Examples of vinyl macromonomers that may be used to form the gel electrolyte may include, but are not limited to, poly(ethyleneglycol)ethylether methacrylate (MA), poly(ethyleneglycol) diacrylate (DA).
  • The gel may be prepared using a photoinitiator. Polymerization of the monolithic gel may be achieved using hydrogen abstracting photoinitiators including, but not limited to, benzophenone, 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone (DMPAP), dimethoxyacetophenone, xanthone, and thioxanthone. In one embodiment the initiator may include 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenyl-acetophenone (DMPAP).
  • Polymerization may also be thermally induced at about 40° C. to about 70° C., preferably about 50° C. using peroxide initiators such as benzyl peroxide (BPO) or azo bis isobutylnitrile (AIBN).
  • In assembling an electrochromic cell or device, the gel ionic liquid solution may be poured onto the first electrochromic conducting polymer coated on a transparent conductive substrate at a thickness of about 5 to about 30 μm. The second electrochromic conducting polymer coated on another transparent conductive substrate may be then placed over the first electrochromic conducting polymer with the conducting surfaces facing each other. Inert spacers, such as for example, glass beads may be dispersed in the gel polymer including an ionic liquid to keep the two electrodes from contacting one another in the solid-state device. The two electrodes may be pressed together to remove any trapped air bubbles and squeeze out excess gel polymer including an ionic liquid solution.
  • Polymerization of the macromonomer in the gel polymer including an ionic liquid may be carried out in at a suitable wavelength of light and temperature for a period of time that results in the polymerization or gel formation. For example, UV light from a lamp source can be used.
  • The device including two conductive substrates each having an electrochromic material electrode with a gel polymer including an ionic liquid between them may be sealed together using polymer such as but not limited to a UV cross-linkable polymeric gels. The device may be further treated by encapsulating it in a resin to reduce or eliminate the intrusion of contaminants like moisture and or oxygen into the cell. The quality of encapsulation may be tested by immersing the devices into a slightly acidified aqueous solution containing, for example, an Iron (III) thiocyanate complex. Poorly sealed devices are totally delaminated and the gel polymer including an ionic liquid cracks completely with uptake of the intensely colored dye. No change in the switching response (contrast and switching speed) was observed for well sealed devices even after subjecting the devices to vacuum at 75° C.
  • For electropolymerization over a large area, steps may be taken (i.e. the choice of electrode materials) to reduce a drop in potential along the surface and provide a more uniform deposition of electrochromic polymer films, thickness, with increasing distance from the applied potential contact point. For example, one way to provide a more uniform deposition is to cover the perimeter of the outer substrate plate with an adhesive copper tape. This leads to a lower gradient of the electric field all along the surface, leading to more uniform films. The charge density on the electrode may also be used to modify the polymerization and deposition uniformity. An increase in the charge density (i.e., rate of polymer deposition) leads to thicker films. Charge density can range from about 1 mC/cm2 to about 50 mC/cm2. In one embodiment, the electrochemical cell for electropolymerization allows use of an adhesive copper contact which is advantageous since traditional electrochemical cell all but one side of the plate is immersed in the solution, avoiding this improvement. In one embodiment for making uniform electrochromic layers, the electrode materials, cell configuration and current density are adjusted to where the relationship between the density charge and time of polymerization are approximately linear as shown in FIGS. 3 a and 3 b, and visually confirmed that the thickness gradient all along the surface was minimized.
  • The optical characteristics of the working and counter electrode materials chosen for the electrochromic device may have complementary colors or approximately complementary colors in the charged or neutral states. For example, the optical characteristics of PEDOT and PBENMCz are complementary. PEDOT is a cathodically electrochromic coloring conducting polymer that has been used in several electrochromic devices and goes from a transparent sky blue in its oxidized state to a deep indigo blue in the neutral state with a maximum absorbance centered at ˜620 nm. PBENMCz goes from a pale yellow in the neutral form to a deep blue in its oxidized form (λmax in oxidized form=570 nm). The anodically coloring PBENMCZ has been shown to be a suitable complementary polymer of PEDOT. Spectrums of both polymers were taken in their reduced and oxidized forms, and they are shown in FIG. 4.
  • Although the maximum change could be centered at one wavelength whenever the transmissive state of an electrochromic device is switched, the effect is distributed over the whole visible spectrum. One method for evaluating electrochromic devices is to show the data for photopic contrast calculated over the whole visible range instead of only calculating it in one particular wavelength. This method is successf