Electrochromic Photodetectors: Toward Smarter Glasses and Nano Reflective Displays via an Electrolytic Mechanism

Zhenyin Hai, Mohammad Karbalaei Akbari, Zihan Wei, Jasper Zuallaert, Wesley De Neve, Chenyang Xue, Hongyan Xu, Francis Verpoort, Serge Zhuiykov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Electrochromic devices, serving as smart glasses, have not yet been intelligent enough to regulate lighting conditions independent of external photosensing devices. On the other hand, their bulky sandwich structures have been suffering setbacks utilized for reflective displays in an effort to compete with mature emissive displays. The key to resolve both problems lies in incorporating the photosensing function into electrochromic devices while simplifying their configuration via replacing ionic electrolytes. However, so far it has not yet been achieved because of the essential operating difference between the optoelectronic devices and the ionic devices. Herein, a concept of a smarter and thinner device: "electrochromic photodetector" is proposed to solve such problems. It is all-solid-state and electrolyte-free and operates with a simple thin metal-semiconductor-metal structure via an electrolytic mechanism. As a proof of concept, a configuration of the electrochromic photodetector is presented in this work based on a tungsten trioxide (WO3) thin film deposited on Au electrodes via facile, low-cost solution processes. The electrochromic photodetector switches between its photosensing and electrochromic functions via voltage modulation within 5 V, which is the result of the semiconductor-metal transition. The transition mechanism is further analyzed to be the voltage-triggered reversible oxygen/water vapor adsorption/intercalation from ambient air.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27997-28004
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019


  • electrochromic
  • photodetectors
  • reflective display
  • smart glasses
  • tungsten oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Electrochromic Photodetectors: Toward Smarter Glasses and Nano Reflective Displays via an Electrolytic Mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this