MRS Bulletin

Technical Feature

Technical Feature

Photoelectrochemical Cells Based on Inherently Conducting Polymers

G. G. Wallace, C. O. Too, D. L. Officer and P. C. Dastoor


This review of photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) based on inherently conducting polymers (ICPs) deals with the mechanisms of operation and the various factors that influence the overall efficiency of PECs. The factors addressed include ICP composition and oxidation state, the use of nanostructured surfaces and interfaces, and the PEC electrolyte and redox mediator.


  • inherently conducting polymers;
  • ionic liquids;
  • photoelectrochemical cell;
  • photovoltaics;
  • polyanilines;
  • polypyrroles;
  • polythiophenes.

Gordon G. Wallace is research director of the Australian Research Council Centre for Nanostructured Electromaterials. In 1990, he was appointed professor at the University of Wollongong. He holds a DSc degree from Deakin University. He was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) QEII Fellowship in 1991 and an ARC Senior Research Fellowship in 1995. He was appointed to an ARC Professorial Fellowship in 2002 and received an ETS Walton Fellowship from the Science Foundation Ireland in 2003. In the same year, he was elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is also a fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), and he received the inaugural Polymer Science and Technology Award from the RACI in 1992 and the RACI Stokes Medal for research in electrochemistry in 2004. Wallace has published more than 300 refereed publications and a monograph on inherently conducting polymers for intelligent materials systems.

Wallace can be reached by e-mail at

Chee On Too is the assistant director of the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute and chief operating officer of the Australian Research Council Centre for Nanostructured Electromaterials at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has published 54 refereed papers on the synthesis and processing of conducting polymers as well as on the applications of conducting polymers, including smart separation technologies (chromatography and membranes), sensors, controlledrelease and thermoresponsive conducting polymer composites, metal-ion separation using conductive electroactive polymer colloids, catalytic hydrogen generation, polymer batteries, and photovoltaics.

Too can be reached by e-mail at

David L. Officer is director of the Nanomaterials Research Centre (NRC) and professor of chemistry at the Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University. He is a principal investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence, and he is a partner investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre for Nanostructured Electromaterials. He has collaborative research programs in the synthesis and use of porphyrins for photovoltaic and molecular devices and in the development and application of functionalized polythiophenes and carbon nanotubes. He holds a PhD degree from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Officer can be reached by e-mail at

Paul C. Dastoor is a senior lecturer in physics in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He received his BA degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1990 and his PhD degree in surface physics, also from the University of Cambridge, in 1995. After completing his doctorate, he joined the Surface Chemistry Department at British Steel in 1994 before taking up his present appointment at the University of Newcastle in 1995.

He was an EPSRC Visiting Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, in 2002 and a CCLRC Visiting Research Fellow at the Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire, for 2004–2005. His research interests encompass the growth and properties of thin films, surface coatings, and organic electronic devices based on semiconducting polymers.

Dastoor can be reached by e-mail at