Lightweight, Fabric-Based Charge Storage Devices for Wearable Electrionics

T.L. Andrew, L. Zhang, W. Viola
University of Massachusetts Amherst,
United States

Keywords: textile electronics, wearable electronics, conducting polymer, pseudocapacitor, reactive vapor deposition


Mass-produced, off-the-shelf textiles and yarns can be vapor coated with stably-doped conducting polymers using a solvent-free reactive vapor coating procedure. The vapor coating process creates mechanically-robust and highly-conductive coatings that remarkably maintain their conductivities and electrochemical performance after >10 machine washing cycles. Fabric analogs of conventional charge storage devices, such as two-dimensional microsupercapacitors and sandwich-type supercapacitors can be embroidered or sewn together using vapor coated yarns or fabrics, respectively. The doped conducting polymer coatings created by reactive vapor deposition display uniform porosity on the 100-500 nm length scale and ordered interchain crystallinity on the 10-50 nm length scale, which allows for optimized electron (quantum particle) and ion (Newtonian / classical particle) transport throughout the coating. Due to this feature, vapor-deposited conducting polymer films (10 - 50 micrometers) match the reported volumetric power densities of laser scribed graphene but, notably unlike graphene materials, vapor deposited polymers maintain their charge storage metrics on demanding fabric substrates. Selected lightweight, fabric-based charge storage devices and their incorporation into wearable energy harvesting-storing technologies will be described.