Laser-Induced Bipolar Electrochemistry—On-Demand Formation of Bipolar Electrodes in a Solid Polymer Light-Emitting Electrochemical Cell
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Bipolar electrochemistry (BPEC) is a versatile and powerful technique that has found applications in sensing, chemical synthesis, catalysis, fuel cells, and batteries, among others. In BPEC, the reactions of interest occur at a wireless, bipolar electrode (BPE). BPEC is most commonly carried out in an electrochemical cell that contains an electrolyte solution, in which a metallic BPE is immersed and polarized when the wired driving electrodes are biased. In this article, we demonstrate BPEC in a solid light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) that does not initially contain a BPE. Shining a focused laser beam onto the mixed conductor LEC film causes the illuminated spot to function as a BPE from which redox reactions are induced and visualized. Separate experiments using a photosensitizer (widely used in polymer solar cells) confirm that a BPE is formed on-demand via photoabsorption that causes the illuminated spot to have elevated photoconductivity. The simplicity of laser-induced BPEC offers exciting opportunities to explore sciences and applications of BPEC in the new realm of solid-state organic photonic devices.