The morphology of conductive nanocomposites consisting of low concentration of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) and polystyrene (PS) has been studied using atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and, in particular, scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Application of charge contrast imaging in SEM allows visualization of the overall SWNT dispersion within the polymer matrix as well as the identification of individual or bundled SWNTs at high resolution. The contrast mechanism involved will be discussed. In conductive nanocomposites the SWNTs are homogeneously dispersed within the polymer matrix and form a network. Beside fairly straight SWNTs, strongly bended SWNTs have been observed. However, for samples with SWNT concentrations below the percolation threshold, the common overall charging behavior of an insulating material is observed preventing the detailed morphological investigation of the sample.
Materials and Interface Chemistry
Facility/equipment: Research lab