Study of electrospray assisted electrophoretic deposition of carbon nanotubes on insulator substrates

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In recent years, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) has been adopted as a cost-effective and reliable single-step solution-based room temperature coating method for carbon nanotubes (CNTs), predominantly on conducting surfaces. Contrary to this general pre-requisite of conductive target substrates, in this work we have explored a fabrication strategy for the scalable deposition of CNTs on insulating glass surfaces by the sequential combination of electrospraying and the EPD technique. This combined process flow has been referred to as “electrospray-assisted EPD”, where an initial CNT coating on glass substrates is obtained by electrospraying which, in turn, further assists CNT film growth by EPD. The successful integration of the electrospray technique in the EPD process flow also eliminates the need for surface functionalization of the insulator substrates prior to the deposition step. Electrospray-assisted EPD has resulted in the successful fabrication of uniform, homogenous, and thick CNT deposits (∼4.5 - 5 μm) with precise thickness control. A detailed investigation of the effect of the initial electrosprayed coating on the final CNT film growth and thickness is also presented in this report. This research endeavor presents a significant opportunity for the integration of this deposition model into a wider platform of materials research and technology, chemical sensing, and applications based upon printable and flexible electronics.

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Electronic Materials Letters

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