Langmuir 2015 Nov 30;31(44):11982-8. Epub 2015 Oct 30.
Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences , 1 Pesek Road, Jurong Island 627833, Singapore.
We synthesize two differently sized poly(methyl methacrylate-co-tert-butyl acrylate) latexes by emulsion polymerization and mix these with a sonicated single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) dispersion, in order to prepare 3% SWCNT composite mixtures. We spin-coat these mixtures at various spin-speed rates and spin times over a glass substrate, producing a thin, transparent, solid, conductive layer. Keeping the amount of SWCNTs constant, we vary the weight fraction of our smaller 30-nm latex particles relative to the larger 70-nm-sized ones. We find a maximum in the electrical conductivity up to 370 S/m as a function of the weight fraction of smaller particles, depending on the overall solid content, the spin speed, and the spin time. This maximum occurs at 3-5% of the smaller latex particles. We also find a more than 2-fold increase in conductivity parallel to the radius of spin-coating than perpendicular to it. Atomic force microscopy points at the existence of lanes of latex particles in the spin-coated thin layer, while large-area transmission electron microscopy demonstrates that the SWCNTs are aligned over a grid fixed on the glass substrate during the spin-coating process. We extract the conductivity distribution on the surface of the thin film and translate this into the direction of the SWCNTs in it.