Graphene Inks with Cellulosic Dispersants: Development and Applications for Printed Electronics

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Graphene offers promising opportunities for applications in printed and flexible electronic devices due to its high electrical and thermal conductivity, mechanical flexibility and strength, and chemical and environmental stability. However, scalable production and processing of graphene presents a critical technological challenge preventing the application of graphene for flexible electronic interconnects, electrochemical energy storage, and chemically robust electrical contacts. In this thesis, a promising and versatile platform for the production, patterning, and application of graphene inks is presented based on cellulosic dispersants. Graphene is produced from flake graphite using scalable liquid-phase exfoliation methods, using the polymers ethyl cellulose and nitrocellulose as multifunctional dispersing agents. These cellulose derivatives offer high colloidal stability and broadly tunable rheology for graphene dispersions, providing an effective and tunable platform for graphene ink development. Thermal or photonic annealing decomposes the polymer dispersant to yield high conductivity, flexible graphene patterns for various electronics applications. In particular, the chemical stability of graphene enables robust electrical contacts for ceramic, metallic, organic and electrolytic materials, validating the diverse applicability of graphene in printed electronics. Overall, the strategy for graphene ink design presented here offers a simple, efficient, and versatile method for integrating graphene in a wide range of printed devices and systems, providing both fundamental insight for nanomaterial ink development and realistic opportunities for practical applications.

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  • 04/30/2018
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