Surface Functionalization with (3-Glycidyloxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GOPS) as an Alternative to Blending for Enhancing the Aqueous Stability and Electronic Performance of PEDOT:PSS Thin Films

Organic mixed ionic–electronic conductors, such as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), are essential materials for the fabrication of bioelectronic devices due to their unique ability to couple and transport ionic and electronic charges. The growing interest in bioelectronic devices has led to the development of organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) that can operate in aqueous solutions and transduce ionic signals of biological origin into measurable electronic signals. A common challenge with OECTs is maintaining the stability and performance of the PEDOT:PSS films operating under aqueous conditions. Although the conventional approach of blending the PEDOT:PSS dispersions with a cross-linker such as (3-glycidyloxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GOPS) helps to ensure strong adhesion of the films to device substrates, it also impacts the morphology and thus electrical properties of the PEDOT:PSS films, which leads to a significant reduction in the performance of OECTs. In this study, we instead functionalize only the surface of the device substrates with GOPS to introduce a silane monolayer before spin-coating the PEDOT:PSS dispersion on the substrate. In all cases, having a GOPS monolayer instead of a blend leads to increased electronic performance metrics, such as three times higher electronic conductivity, volumetric capacitance, and mobility–capacitance product [μC*] value in OECT devices, ultimately leading to a record value of 406 ± 39 F cm–1 V–1 s–1 for amorphous PEDOT:PSS. This increased performance does not come at the expense of operational stability, as both the blend and surface functionalization show similar performance when subjected to pulsed gate bias stress, long-term electrochemical cycling tests, and aging over 150 days. Overall, this study establishes a novel approach to using GOPS as a surface monolayer instead of a blended cross-linker, for achieving high-performance organic mixed ionic–electronic conductors that are stable in water for bioelectronics.
This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, copyright © 2023 American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see This article will be embargoed until 11/29/2024.
organic bioelectronics, water stability, PEDOT:PSS, GOPS, surface functionalization, organic electrochemical transistor
Osazuwa, Peter O., Chun-Yuan Lo, Xu Feng, Abigail Nolin, Charles Dhong, and Laure V. Kayser. “Surface Functionalization with (3-Glycidyloxypropyl)Trimethoxysilane (GOPS) as an Alternative to Blending for Enhancing the Aqueous Stability and Electronic Performance of PEDOT:PSS Thin Films.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 15, no. 47 (November 29, 2023): 54711–20.