Past REU Participants & Project Pages

2006 REU Porjects
2006 REU Projects
2006 Participant: Kristy A. Gogick
Project Title: Growth of Carbon Nanotube Based Nanocomposite Polymer Thin Films

Faculty Advisor:J. M. Fitz-Gerald, UVa MSE Department
Introduction:
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are currently part of a very active field of engineering materials due to their unique thermal, electrical, structural, and optical properties [1]. Matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) is a technique, originally developed at the Naval Research Laboratory, to deposit fragile polymer thin films [2]. In previous work to develop composites, surface features in the form of “deflated” structures appear in a uniform manner over the specimen substrate surface [3]. The origin of these features is believed to occur as the result of polymer-matrix capsules landing on the substrate and the trapped solvent eventually effusing out of the polymer shell, leaving a collapsed structure behind as shown on the right [3].
Conclusion:
  • PMMA/SWCNT composite thin films have been grown using the MAPLE technique
  • Polymer-solvent capsules landing directly on the substrate followed by solvent effusion are likely responsible for the “deflated” features
  • Occurrences of the “deflated” structures and other surface features decreased as a function of increasing substrate temperature
  • PMMA’s thermal properties or both the thermal properties and the increased rate of toluene evaporation may be responsible for the observed trend in morphology
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