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December 6th, 2007
Novel communication platforms such as e-papers and e-textiles offer instant information and data handling access. These electronic platforms are based on smart materials that can recognize, process, and respond to external stimuli. They are also easy to manipulate and can be applied on surfaces of various types and shapes. Electroactive or intrinsically conducting polymers1 such as polyaniline, polythiophene, or polypyrrole that combine the electrical conductivity of a metal with the mechanical flexibility and processing properties of a polymer, hold great promise as smart materials for flexible plastic and wearable electronics.2 Unfortunately, degradation issues resulting from their low environmental, thermal, and electronic stability, as well as processing problems, affect their reliability and long-term operational functionality.
To address these issues and improve their overall properties, novel nanoscale concepts aimed at adding functionality at the molecular level have generated significant interest. In this context, combining electroactive polymers with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) represents an attractive solution. These materials consist of tiny graphene cylinders of nanometer diameter and micrometer length with unique structural, mechanical, thermal, electronic and optical properties.3 However, simple mixing procedures usually fail to yield homogeneous and stable CNT dispersions, thus hindering effective interactions as well as further material processing.
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