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Conductive Carbon-Nanotube/Polymer Composites: Spectroscopic Monitoring of the Exfoliation Process in Water and the Crucial Role of Wetting

N. Grossiord, J. Loos, J. Meuldijk, O. Regev, H.E. Miltner, B. Van Mele and C.E. Koning
Eindhoven University of Technology, NL

Keywords:
percolation threshold, UV-VIS monitoring, Thermal Analysis, Conductivity

Abstract:
For the preparation of conductive polystyrene/SWNT nanocomposites, a recently developed, versatile, latex-based technology is applied. A low molar mass PS fraction, probably acting as a wetting agent for the SWNTs, seems to be required for an improved PS/SWNT interaction, which accordingly results in enhanced conductivity.
Another crucial step in the entire process is the ultrasound-driven exfoliation of the as produced SWNT bundles in water. By combining UV/VIS and Raman spectroscopy, the maximal attainable degree of exfoliation without seriously damaging the nanotubes could be determined. The exfoliation process was also directly visualized with cryo-TEM images, taken at several stages of the exfoliation process. These images were in agreement with the collected UV/VIS data.

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