All-in-One Gel-Based Electrochromic Devices: Strengths and Recent Developments
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Materials 2018, 11, 414; doi:10.3390/ma11030414
Electrochromic devices (ECDs) have aroused great interest because of their potential applicability in displays and smart systems, including windows, rearview mirrors, and helmet visors. In the last decades, different device structures and materials have been proposed to meet the requirements of commercial applications to boost market entry. To this end, employing simple device architectures and achieving a competitive electrolyte are crucial to accomplish easily implementable, high-performance ECDs. The present review outlines devices comprising gel electrolytes as a single electroactive layer (“all-in-one”) ECD architecture, highlighting some advantages and opportunities they offer over other electrochromic systems. In this context, gel electrolytes not only overcome the drawbacks of liquid and solid electrolytes, such as liquid’s low chemical stability and risk of leaking and soil’s slow switching and lack of transparency, but also exhibit further strengths. These include easier processability, suitability for flexible substrates, and improved stabilization of the chemical species involved in redox processes, leading to better cyclability and opening wide possibilities to extend the electrochromic color palette, as discussed herein. Finally, conclusions and outlook are provided.