Transfer printing of thermoreversible ion gels for flexible electronics

Keun Hyung Lee, Sipei Zhang, Yuanyan Gu, Timothy P. Lodge, C. Daniel Frisbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Thermally assisted transfer printing was employed to pattern thin films of high capacitance ion gels on polyimide, poly(ethylene terephthalate), and SiO2 substrates. The ion gels consisted of 20 wt % block copolymer poly(styrene-b-ethylene oxide-b-styrene and 80 wt % ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethyl sulfonyl)amide. Patterning resolution was on the order of 10 μm. Importantly, ion gels containing the block polymer with short PS end blocks (3.4 kg/mol) could be transfer-printed because of thermoreversible gelation that enabled intimate gel-substrate contact at 100 C, while gels with long PS blocks (11 kg/mol) were not printable at the same temperature due to poor wetting contact between the gel and substrates. By using printed ion gels as high-capacitance gate insulators, electrolyte-gated thin-film transistors were fabricated that operated at low voltages (<1 V) with high on/off current ratios (∼105). Statistical analysis of carrier mobility, turn-on voltage, and on/off ratio for an array of printed transistors demonstrated the excellent reproducibility of the printing technique. The results show that transfer printing is an attractive route to pattern high-capacitance ion gels for flexible thin-film devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9522-9527
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 18 2013


  • ion gel
  • ionic liquid
  • polymer electrolyte
  • thin-film transistor
  • transfer printing

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