Electrically Conducting Polymers
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Shirakawa, MacDiarmid, and Heeger’s first ground-breaking publication on electrically conducting polymers. Their original studies were based on polyacetylene, but work quickly progressed to other classes of polymers, including poly phenylenes, poly (phenylenevinylenes), polyanilines, and the poly heterocycles. While “electrically conducting polymers” is, of course, an apt description for these materials, that description fails to capture the most important feature of these polymers: changes in oxidation state result in changes in many properties, including not just conductivity but also color, volume, reactivity, permeability, and solubility. For this reason, describing these materials as “electroactive polymers” might be more appropriate.