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Home  > Publications  > Blog  > Coatings on indium tin oxide (ITO)

Monday, 28 September 2020

Coatings on indium tin oxide (ITO)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 | Posted by: Prof. Rigoberto Advincula, Case Western Reserve University

Do you use an IPad, cell phone, notebook computer, devices and gadgets you can do without. So how are these things related to ITO?

Indium tin oxide or ITO is one of the most used transparent metal oxide electrode or conductor for display and solid state devices. Think about your IPad, notebook computer, cell phones, solar cells, flat screen HDTV, etc. The use of this material has been synonymous with many everyday devices or gadgets that we "cannot almost do without". Yet there are challenges in terms of resource, efficiency, and production. For one, the indium that is doped in it is a commodity material that has become very expensive (supply and demand). Many possible replacements range from zinc oxide, graphenes, and ultrathin nobel metals, yet ITO will be most widely used for some time. One possibility to improve efficiency and homogeneity is to use thin polymer or organic films to improve the charge carrier transport properties (holes) when used as an anode. Another is to improve adhesion. Several approaches have been used ranging from vapor deposited organic materials, spin-coated polymers (PEDOT), self-assembled monolayers (SAM) and polyelectrolyte alternating layers. Some of the issues on ITO are based on roughness, variable conductivity, transparency, and lack of adhesion. We recently published a method of growing polymer brushes as thin films on ITO that improved solar cell efficiencies comparable to PEDOT( "Electrochemically Surface-Grafted PVK Polymer Brushes as Hole Transport Layer for Organic Photovoltaics” J. Mater. Chem. 2011, 21, 10261-10264). A few years ago, we had modified surfaces of ITO for organic light emitting diodes (OLED)s ("Investigating Work Function Tunable Hole-Injection/Transport Layers of Electrodeposited Polycarbazole Network Thin Films" J. Phys. Chem. B. 2004108, 18949-18955). There should be high interest in this ultrathin film coatings to make an important electrode material even better.

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