Scalable nanomanufacturing of surfactant-free carbon nanotube inks for spray coatings with high conductivity
Spray-coated carbon nanotube films offer a simple and printable solution for fabricating low cost, lightweight, and flexible thin-film electronics. However, current nanotube spray inks require either a disruptive surfactant or destructive surface functionalization to stabilize dispersions at the cost of the electrical properties of the deposited film. We demonstrate that high-purity few-walled carbon nanotubes may be stabilized in isopropanol after surface functionalization and that optimizing the ink stability dramatically enhances the conductivity of subsequent spray-coated thin films. We consequently report a surfactant-free carbon nanotube ink for spray-coated thin films with conductivities reaching 2,100 S/cm. Zeta-potential measurements, used to quantify the nanotube ink dispersion quality, directly demonstrate a positive correlation with the spraycoated film conductivity, which is the key metric for high-performance printed electronics.
Keywordscarbon nanotubes surfactant-free ink spray coating high conductivity zeta potential
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