Indexed on: 08 Feb '20Published on: 07 Feb '20Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Most functional inkjet inks are sterically stabilized nanoparticle dispersions that require a post-printing-process to remove stabilizing materials and gain functionality. This post-process limits material selection and increases fabrication time and complexity for printed devices. By optimizing the electrostatic stability of a carbon nanomaterial dispersed in water or ethylene glycol via pH adjustment, a stable and printable ink should be attainable without a steric stabilizing material and hence the post-process may be avoided. The electrostatic stability of multilayer graphene nanoshells (MGNS)-an inexpensive and net carbon-negative nanomaterial-dispersed in water and ethylene glycol was studied by measuring zeta potential as a function of pH and modeling energetic potentials between particles. Requirements for electrical percolation of printed MGNS were analyzed and corroborated with electrical measurements. Electrostatic stability improved with increased zeta potential caused by an increased pH. Ionic strength also increased with pH, causing strong destabilization. By increasing zeta potential while minimizing ionic strength, the maximum solid-loading of MGNS in DI water and ethylene glycol was increased up to 20%. For the MGNS solid-loading achieved here, electrical percolation occurs with 20-30 consecutively printed layers producing a resistivity of 30 Ω-cm. The inexpensive, environmentally-friendly MGNS are a promising material for printed, flexible electronics. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.