Optical and electrical characterization of conducting polymer-single walled carbon nanotube composite films

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The optical and electrical properties of the conducting polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) and single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) composites have been investigated. The composites were prepared by dispersing carbon nanotubes in the polymer matrix already dissolved in 1,2-dichlorobenzene. The optical absorption, photoluminescence (PL) and electrical conductivity of the composite was studied as a function of SWCNT concentration in the solution. The absorption coefficient of the polymer was found to be unaffected upto a SWCNT concentration 5% w/w. However a minor decrease in the absorption in visible region was observed for higher SWCNT concentrations. The intensity of PL emission from the composite was measured and was found to decrease with the increase in SWCNT concentration. For a SWCNT concentration of 30% w/w, ∼90% of the PL was quenched, indicating an ultra fast transfer of photoinduced charges from donor polymer to acceptor SWCNT. Direct current conductivity of the composite film was found to increase rapidly with the increase in SWCNT concentration and an increase of ∼5 orders of magnitude was observed for a 30% w/w concentration. The enhancement in conductivity is explained in terms of percolation theory with an estimated percolation threshold of 2% w/w. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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