Simultaneous anion and cation mobility in polypyrrole

Steen Skaarup, Lasse Bay, K. Vidanapathirana, S. Thybo, P. Tofte, Keld West

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Polypyrrole (PPy) polymer films permanently doped with large, immobile anion dodecyl benzene sulfonate (DBS) have been characterized by cyclic voltammetry in order to clarify the roles of cations and anions in the aqueous electrolyte as mobile ions in the film. Aqueous solutions of 0.05-0.1 M alkali metal chlorides as well as BaCl2, NaBr and (CH3CH2CH2)(4)NBr were used to investigate the effects of both the ionic charge, size and shape. In 1: 1 electrolytes using small ions only three peaks are present: a sharp cathodic peak at ca. - 0.6 V vs, SCE representing both the insertion of cations and the expulsion of anions; a broad anodic peak centered at ca. - 0.5 V representing the expulsion of cations; and a second broad peak at +0.2 to +0.5 V corresponding to anions being inserted. Although the motion of cations is the most important, as expected, there is a significant anion contribution, thereby complicating reproducibility when employing PPy(DBS) polymers as actuators. When the cation is doubly charged, it enters the film less readily, and anions dominate the mobility. Using a large and bulky cation switches the mechanism to apparently total anion motion. The changes in area of the three peaks in slow cyclic voltammograms enable the shifts in mechanism to be followed in detail. The charge and the size/shape dependence point to future possibilities for improving the control and reproducibility of electroactive polymer actuators.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSolid State Ionics
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)143-147
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Ion mobility
  • Conducting polymer
  • Polypyrrole
  • Actuator
  • Artificial muscle
  • Electroactive polymer


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