Printable hexagonal boron nitride ionogels
Due to its excellent chemical/thermal stability and mechanical robustness, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a promising solid matrix material for ionogels. While bulk hBN ionogels have been employed in macroscopic applications such as lithium-ion batteries, hBN ionogel inks that are compatible with high-resolution printing have not yet been realized. Here, we describe aerosol jet-printable ionogels using exfoliated hBN nanoplatelets as the solid matrix. The hBN nanoplatelets are produced from bulk hBN powders by liquid-phase exfoliation, allowing printable hBN ionogel inks to be formulated following the addition of an imidazolium ionic liquid and ethyl lactate. The resulting inks are reliably printed with variable patterns and controllable thicknesses by aerosol jet printing, resulting in hBN ionogels that possess high room-temperature ionic conductivities and storage moduli of >3 mS cm−1 and >1 MPa, respectively. By integrating the hBN ionogel with printed semiconductors and electrical contacts, fully-printed thin-film transistors with operating voltages below 1 V are demonstrated on polyimide films. These devices exhibit desirable electrical performance and robust mechanical tolerance against repeated bending cycles, thus confirming the suitability of hBN ionogels for printed and flexible electronics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemistry of 2-dimensional materials: beyond graphene