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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • composite materials;
  • electro-optical materials;
  • poly(3-hexylthiophene);
  • Raman spectroscopy

Abstract

3-hexylthiophene was electropolymerized on a carbon nanotube (CNT)-laden fluorine-doped tin oxide substrate. Scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy revealed that the polymer was infused throughout the thickness of the 150-nm thick CNT mat, resulting in a conducting composite film with a dense CNT network. The electropolymerized poly(3-hexylthiophene) (e-P3HT)/CNT composites exhibited photoluminescence intensity quenching by as much as 92% compared to the neat e-P3HT, which provided evidence of charge transfer from the polymer phase to the CNT phase. Through-film impedance and J-V measurements of the composites gave a conductivity (σ) of 1.2 × 10−10 S cm−1 and zero-field mobility (μ0) of 8.5 × 10−4 cm2 V−1 s−1, both of which were higher than those of neat e-P3HT films (σ = 9.9 × 10−12 S cm−1, μ0 = 3 × 10−5 cm2 V−1 s−1). In electropolymerized samples, the thiophene rings were oriented in the (010) direction (thiophene rings parallel to substrate), which resulted in a broader optical absorbance than for spin coated samples, however, the lack of long-range conjugation caused a blueshift in the absorbance maximum from 523 nm for unannealed regioregular P3HT (rr-P3HT) to 470 nm for e-P3HT. Raman spectroscopy revealed that π-π stacking in e-P3HT was comparable to that in rr-P3HT and significantly higher than in regiorandom P3HT (ran-P3HT) as shown by the principal Raman peak shift from 1444 to 1446 cm−1 for e-P3HT and rr-P3HT to 1473 cm−1 for ran-P3HT. This work demonstrates that these polymer/CNT composites may have interesting properties for electro-optical applications. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 49: 1269–1275, 2011