LONDON -- Physicists at the University of Luxembourg have developed a new method to improve the electrical conductivity of polymeric composites which can be used to make flat-panel displays and solar cells more efficient.
The researchers in Luxembourg, in cooperation with scientists from the Netherlands, have studied the electrical percolation of carbon nanotubes in a polymer matrix and shown the percolation threshold - the point at which the polymer composite becomes conductive - can be considerably lowered if small quantities of a conductive polymer latex are added. The simulations were done in Luxembourg, while the experiments took place at Eindhoven University.
"In this project, the idea is to use as little as possible carbon nanotubes and still benefit from their favourable properties", explained the project leader at the University of Luxembourg, Prof. Tania Schilling, "we have discovered that, by adding a second component, we could make use of the resulting interactions to reach our goal." By mixing colloidal particles of differing shapes and sizes in the medium, system-spanning networks form which is the prerequisite for electrically conductive composites.
The recent finding of the materials scientists of the University of Luxembourg was published in the peer-reviewed, scientific journal ‘Nature Nanotechnology’. This finding is a result of a cooperation of scientists at the University of Luxembourg, the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven and the Dutch Polymer Institute.
This article first appeared in EE Times Europe.