We have found that the polymerization process was 4,500 times faster when a self-doped polyaniline nanocomposite was fabricated using in situ polymerization in the presence of single-stranded DNA-dispersed and -functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (ssDNA-SWNTs). More importantly, the quality of the composite was significantly improved: fewer short oligomers were produced, and the self-doped polyaniline backbone had a longer conjugation length and existed in the more stable and conductive emeraldine state. The functionality of the boronic acid group in the composite and the highly improved electronic performance may lead to broad applications of the composite in flexible electronic devices. Blending of preformed polymer with carbon nanotubes is straightforward and widely used to fabricate nanocomposites. We demonstrate that this simple mixing approach might not fully and synergistically combine the merits of each individual component. Surprisingly, these advantages also cannot be obtained using in situ polymerization with preoxidized ssDNA-SWNTs, which is renowned as the "seed" method for production of conducting-polymer nanowires. The electronic structures of the carbon nanotubes and the monomer-nanotube interaction during polymerization greatly impact the kinetics of nanocomposite fabrication and the electronic performance of the resulting composites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry