Flexible, transparent and conductive polymer blend coatings were prepared from aqueous dispersions of poly(3,4-ethylenedixoythiophene)/poly(styrenesulfonate) [PEDOT/PSS] gel particles (∼80 nm) and latex (∼300 nm). The stable dispersions were deposited as wet coatings onto poly(ethylene terephthalate) substrates and dried at 80 °C. Microstructure studies using tapping mode atomic force microscopy (TMAFM) indicate that a network-like microstructure formed during drying at 0.03 volume fraction PEDOT/PSS loading. In this network-like structure, the PEDOT/PSS phase was forced into the boundary regions between latex. In addition, migration of the PEDOT/PSS particles towards coating surface is likely during drying of the aqueous dispersions. The addition of a small amount of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in dispersions altered the distribution of the PEDOT/PSS phase. As PEDOT/PSS concentration increases to 0.15 volume fraction, the coating surface is dominated by the PEDOT/PSS phase. The effect of DMSO on microstructure becomes less apparent as PEDOT/PSS concentration increases. The conductivity of the polymer blend coatings increases in a percolation-like fashion with a threshold of ∼0.02 volume fraction PEDOT/PSS. The addition of DMSO in dispersions enhanced the coating conductivity beyond the threshold by more than two orders of magnitude. The highest conductivity, ∼3 S/cm, occurs at 0.20 volume fraction PEDOT/PSS concentration. The polymer blend coatings have good transparency with only a weak dependence of transparency on wavelength due to the small refractive index difference between filler and matrix.
- Electrical conductivity
- Optical transparency
- Polymer blend
- Transparent and conductive coatings