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Fluoropolymer-based plasma polymer thin films for energy device applications

Fluoropolymer-based plasma polymer thin films for energy device applications
Alternative Author(s)
Eunmi Cho
Issue Date
2024. 2
한양대학교 대학원
Traditional large-scale power generation has focused on centralized distribution through extensive power lines. However, with the shift towards renewable energy and decentralized energy production, individual citizens are becoming key players in energy generation, storage, and supply. Consequently, various devices that harness renewable energy are rapidly evolving, requiring thin, flexible, and portable characteristics to meet diverse requirements. Fluoropolymers play a vital role in the sustainable renewable energy field due to their ability to withstand long-term exposure to chemical substances, corrosion, abrasion, and extreme temperatures. They protect solar panels and wind turbines from harsh environmental conditions and reduce maintenance costs. Fluoropolymers offer several advantages, making them irreplaceable in the renewable energy industry. However, these materials come with challenges, including high crystallinity, poor solubility, low adhesion, and inflexibility due to their unique characteristics and low surface energy. Consequently, there is a need for research into thin, flexible, and transparent fluoropolymer films. In this study, I introduce a new method of using plasma process to create fluoropolymer-based plasma polymer (FPP) films, providing solutions to these shortcomings. Furthermore, I present conditions for optimizing various characteristics required in the renewable energy sector, such as transparency and negative triboelectrification, to apply FPP thin films in that field. FPP films produced via sputtering with fluoropolymer composite targets added carbon nanotubes offer a high degree of controllability over their properties, such as low refractive index, hydrophobicity, and chemical resistance. Additionally, these films were incredibly thin, flexible, and transparent, with excellent adhesion. The low refractive index of FPP films enhanced light transmission and reduced reflection. Applying FPP films with different thicknesses to indium-tin-oxide coated polyethylene terephthalate (ITO PET) substrates increased transparency, resulting in improved power conversion efficiency (PCE) in perovskite solar cells (PSCs). Additionally, by utilizing an inclined MF dual cathode gun during FPP deposition, the F doping effect could be imparted to the back side of the FPP coated substrate. When applied to TiO2, it enhanced electron mobility in electron transfer layer TiO2, ultimately leading to a significant increase in PCE of PSCs. Also, FPP films could be used as negative triboelectric materials in triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), owing to their high electronegativity. When applied as coatings on elastomer substrates, they not only introduced a tribonegative surface but also induced the formation of surface wrinkles, resulting in a 3.5% increase in surface area. It is leading to a significant improvement in energy harvesting efficiency. In conclusion, the research on FPP films, considering their various properties, presents new avenues for enhancing performance in the renewable energy sector. These films offer solutions to the limitations of traditional fluoropolymers and provide a means to improve the efficiency and functionality of solar panels and nanogenerators. The development of FPP films holds great promise in advancing technology within the renewable energy sector.
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