On the mechanism of conductivity enhancement in poly(3,4- ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) film through solvent treatment

Jianyong Ouyang, Qianfei Xu, Chi Wei Chu, Yang Yang, Gang Li, Joseph Shinar

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1148 Citations (Scopus)


The conductivity of a poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) film is enhanced by more than 100-folds on adding some organic compounds into PEDOT:PSS aqueous solutions or by treating the PEDOT:PSS film with organic solvents, such as ethylene glycol (EG), 2-nitroethanol, methyl sulfoxide or 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone. The mechanism for this conductivity enhancement was studied through various chemical and physical characterizations. The PEDOT:PSS film which is soluble in water becomes insoluble after treatment with EG. This strongly suggests an increased interchain interaction among the PEDOT chains. Raman spectroscopy indicates that this increased interchain interaction results from conformational changes of the PEDOT chains, which change from a coil to linear or expanded-coil structure. The increased interchain interaction and conformation changes are further confirmed by the temperature dependence of conductivity and the electron spin resonance (ESR). It is found that EG treatment lowers the energy barrier for charge hopping among the PEDOT chains, lowers the polaron concentration in the PEDOT:PSS film by ∼50%, and increases the electrochemical activity of the PEDOT:PSS film in NaCl aqueous solution by ∼100%. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and contact angle measurements show that the surface morphology of the PEDOT:PSS film changes as well after the EG treatment. Conductivity enhancement was also observed when other organic compounds were used, but it was strongly dependent on the chemical structure of the organic compounds, and observed only with organic compound with two or more polar groups. These experimental results support our proposal that the conductivity enhancement is due to the conformational change of the PEDOT chains and the driving force is the interaction between the dipoles of the organic compound and dipoles or charges on the PEDOT chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8443-8450
Number of pages8
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Conductivity
  • Solvent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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