Thermoelectric properties of a semicrystalline polymer doped beyond the insulator-to-metal transition by electrolyte gating

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Science Advances  14 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 7, eaay8065
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay8065


Conducting polymer thin films containing inherent structural disorder exhibit complicated electronic, transport, and thermoelectric properties. The unconventional power-law relation between the Seebeck coefficient (S) and the electrical conductivity (σ) is one of the typical consequences of this disorder, where no maximum of the thermoelectric power factor (P = S2σ) has been observed upon doping, unlike conventional systems. Here, it is demonstrated that a thiophene-based semicrystalline polymer exhibits a clear maximum of P through wide-range carrier doping by the electrolyte gating technique. The maximum value appears around the macroscopic insulator-to-metal transition upon doping, which is firmly confirmed by the temperature dependence of σ and magnetoresistance measurements. The effect of disorder on charge transport is suppressed in the metallic state, resulting in the conventional S-σ relation described by the Mott equation. The present results provide a physical background for controlling the performance of conducting polymers toward the application to thermoelectric devices.

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