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Ultralow Percolation Threshold in Nanoconfined Domains

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journal contribution
posted on 26.09.2017 by David R. Barbero, Nicolas Boulanger
Self-assembled percolated networks play an important role in many advanced electronic materials and devices. In nanocarbon composites, decreasing the percolation threshold ϕc is of paramount importance to reduce nanotube bundling, minimize material resources and costs, and enhance charge transport. Here we demonstrate that three-dimensional nanoconfinement in single-wall carbon nanotube/polymer nanocomposites produces a strong reduction in ϕc, reaching the lowest value ever reported in this system of ϕc ≈ 1.8 × 10–5 wt % and 4–5 orders of magnitude lower than the theoretical statistical percolation threshold ϕstat. Moreover, a change in network resistivity and electrical conduction was observed with increased confinement, and a simple resistive model is used to accurately estimate the difference in ϕc in the confined networks. These results are explained in terms of networks’ size, confinement, and tube orientation as determined by atomic force microscopy, electrical conductivity measurements, and polarized Raman spectroscopy. Our findings provide important insight into nanoscale percolated networks and should find application in electronic nanocomposites and devices.