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MM10.11 - Preparation and Properties of Carbon Nanotube-Based Inks 
December 3, 2014   11:45am - 12:00pm
  Synced Audio / Video / Slides

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) exhibit a range of interesting properties and have attracted significant attention in recent years [1,2]. Of note are their highly desirable conducting and semiconducting electronic characteristics; however, in order to realize these properties, the CNTs must be converted into an ink to allow for application-specific CNT film deposition and device fabrication.

Exploiting the electronic properties of as-produced CNTs is challenging. Raw, powdered CNTs must be dispersed into an appropriate medium in a controlled and scalable manner in order to prepare CNT films for electronic applications. However, raw CNTs exhibit very poor solubility in common solvents and are insoluble in water without either prior chemical modification or the use of a dispersing agent such as a surfactant. Unfortunately, chemical modification of CNTs or use of surfactant each negatively impacts the desirable electronic properties of the CNTs.

Our team has developed several new methods to prepare stable, concentrated, CNT-based inks for different deposition techniques. We have developed a functionalization procedure that preserves the electronic properties of raw tubes and can be used to generate aqueous inks that are suitable for spray-coating and Optomec’s Aerosol Jet® deposition techniques. Our process is scalable and can be used to reproducibly cast conductive CNT films with conductivity values that exceed 300,000 S/m. Moreover, these dispersions can be further formulated to give stable ink-jettable inks. Additionally, we have developed a novel technique to prepare screen-printable CNT-based inks that easily generate CNT films with resistivity of <6 ohms/square after one coat. Our screen-printable inks only require curing at a mild temperature after deposition and do not contain any additives that require a special treatment step. All electrical characterization to be presented is based on methods developed and validated by Brewer Science using measurements systems analysis (MSA) protocols.


[1] D. Tasis, N. Tagmatarchris, A. Bianco, and M. Prato, “Chemistry of Carbon Nanotubes,” Chemical Reviews, v. 106, no. 3, pp. 1105-1136, 2006.
[2] L. Hu, D.S. Hecht, and G. Gruner, “Carbon Nanotube Thin Films: Fabrication, Properties, and Applications,” Chemical Reviews, v. 110, pp. 5790-5844, 2010.

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