Chemo-sensitivity of latex-based films containing segregated networks of carbon nanotubes

In contrast to conventional hydrophobic Conductive Polymer nanoComposites (CPCs) used to design vapor sensors, which are mostly soluble in organic solvents, monodispersed acrylate copolymer latexes present the double advantage of being more sensitive and selective towards polar vapors such as water. A hierarchically structured latex based CPC film was obtained by co-dispersion of an aqueous acrylic emulsion with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs), followed by spray layer by layer (sLbL) assembly. The analysis of CPC films morphology by AFM and TEM show that a segregated network of CNT as been achieved by partial coalescence of latex nanoparticles and homogeneously assembled in 3D. Transducer sensitivity was investigated as a function of CNT content, latex glass transition temperature (Tg), organic vapor nature and vapor concentration. The source of the high sensitivity and selectivity observed for these latex-based composites towards water vapor is assumed to mainly result from ionic interaction of SDS with water molecules offering interesting perspectives of development. The different diffusion regimes through the CPC transducer are visualized, modeled and interpreted with the Langmuir–Henry-Clustering (LHC) model, showing that only water is reaching a clustering mode at high vapor concentration. Finally it is believed that the unique hierarchical architecture of BA latex–CNT sensors is responsible for their quick, stable and reproducible responses to vapors.

View the Source
Lu, J; Feller, FJ; Kumar, B; Castro, M; Kim, YS; Park, YT; Grunlan, JC; Sensors & Actuators: B. Chemical 2011, 155 (1), 28-36.
Published in Sensors & Actuators: B. Chemical 2011