Nanostructured conducting polymer hydrogels for energy storage applications
Conducting polymer hydrogels are emerging as a promising class of polymeric materials for various technological applications, especially for energy storage devices due to their unique combination of advantageous features of conventional polymers and organic conductors. To overcome the drawbacks of conventional synthesis, new synthetic routes in which acid molecules are adopted as both crosslinkers and dopants have been developed for conducting polymer hydrogels with unique 3D hierarchical porous nanostructures, resulting in high electrical conductivity, large surface area, structural tunability and hierarchical porosity for rapid mass/charge transport. The newly developed conducting polymer hydrogels exhibit high performance when applied as active electrode materials for electrochemical capacitors or as functional binder materials for high-energy lithium-ion batteries. This feature article summarizes the synthesis of conducting polymer hydrogels, presents their applications in energy storage, and discusses further opportunities and challenges.