Polymer gels with tunable ionic Seebeck coefficient for ultra-sensitive printed thermopiles

Dan Zhao, Anna Martinelli, Andreas Willfahrt, Thomas Fischer, Diana Bernin, Zia Ullah Khan, Maryam Shahi, Joseph Brill, Magnus P. Jonsson, Simone Fabiano, Xavier Crispin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


Measuring temperature and heat flux is important for regulating any physical, chemical, and biological processes. Traditional thermopiles can provide accurate and stable temperature reading but they are based on brittle inorganic materials with low Seebeck coefficient, and are difficult to manufacture over large areas. Recently, polymer electrolytes have been proposed for thermoelectric applications because of their giant ionic Seebeck coefficient, high flexibility and ease of manufacturing. However, the materials reported to date have positive Seebeck coefficients, hampering the design of ultra-sensitive ionic thermopiles. Here we report an “ambipolar” ionic polymer gel with giant negative ionic Seebeck coefficient. The latter can be tuned from negative to positive by adjusting the gel composition. We show that the ion-polymer matrix interaction is crucial to control the sign and magnitude of the ionic Seebeck coefficient. The ambipolar gel can be easily screen printed, enabling large-area device manufacturing at low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1093
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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