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Kim Y.S.,Sensors and Electrochemical Devices Group | Welch C.F.,Polymers and Coatings Group | Hjelm R.P.,Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamic Extremes Group | Mack N.H.,Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group | And 2 more authors.
Macromolecules | Year: 2015

The gelation behavior of Nafion dispersions was investigated using small-angle neutron scattering to better understand the mechanical toughness of dispersion-cast Nafion membranes. Three types of gelation were observed, depending on dispersing fluids: (i) homogeneous, thermally reversible gelation that was present in most aprotic polar dispersing fluids; (ii) inhomogeneous, thermally irreversible gelation as films, found in alcohols; and (iii) inhomogeneous, thermally irreversible gelation which precipitates in water/monohydric alcohol mixtures. The mechanical toughness of dispersion-cast Nafion membranes depends on the dispersing fluid, varying by more than 4 orders of magnitude. Excellent correlation between the critical gelation concentration and mechanical toughness was demonstrated with the Nafion membranes cast at 140 °C. Additional thermal effects among Nafion membranes cast at 190 °C were qualitatively related to the boiling point of dispersing fluids. Little correlation between mechanical toughness and percent crystalline area of Nafion was observed, suggesting that the origin of mechanical toughness of dispersion-cast Nafion membranes is due to chain entanglements rather than crystallinity. The correlation between critical gelation concentration and mechanical toughness is a new way of predicting mechanical behavior in dispersion-cast polymer systems in which both polymer-dispersing fluid and polymer-polymer interactions play a significant role in the formation of polymer chain entanglements. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

Duque J.G.,Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group | Duque J.G.,Integrated Materials | Hamilton C.E.,Polymers and Coatings Group | Gupta G.,Integrated Materials | And 9 more authors.
ACS Nano | Year: 2011

A general challenge in generating functional materials from nanoscale components is integrating them into useful composites that retain or enhance their properties of interest. Development of single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) materials for optoelectronics and sensing has been especially challenging in that SWNT optical and electronic properties are highly sensitive to environmental interactions, which can be particularly severe in composite matrices. Percolation of SWNTs into aqueous silica gels shows promise as an important route for exploiting their properties, but retention of the aqueous and surfactant environment still impacts and limits optical response, while also limiting the range of conditions in which these materials may be applied. Here, we present for the first time an innovative approach to obtain highly fluorescent solution-free SWNT-silica aerogels, which provides access to novel photophysical properties. Strongly blue-shifted spectral features, revelation of new diameter-dependent gas-phase adsorption phenomena, and significant increase (approximately three times that at room temperature) in photoluminescence intensities at cryogenic temperatures all indicate greatly reduced SWNT-matrix interactions consistent with the SWNTs experiencing a surfactant-free environment. The results demonstrate that this solid-state nanomaterial will play an important role in further revealing the true intrinsic SWNT chemical and photophysical behaviors and represent for the first time a promising new solution- and surfactant-free material for advancing SWNT applications in sensing, photonics, and optoelectronics. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Duque J.G.,Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group | Oudjedi L.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Oudjedi L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Crochet J.J.,Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group | And 6 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2013

While addition of electrolyte to sodium dodecyl sulfate suspensions of single-wall carbon nanotubes has been demonstrated to result in significant brightening of the nanotube photoluminescence (PL), the brightening mechanism has remained unresolved. Here, we probe this mechanism using time-resolved PL decay measurements. We find that PL decay times increase by a factor of 2 on addition of CsCl as the electrolyte. Such an increase directly parallels an observed near-doubling of PL intensity, indicating the brightening results primarily from changes in nonradiative decay rates associated with exciton diffusion to quenching sites. Our findings indicate that a reduced number of these sites results from electrolyte-induced reorientation of the surfactant surface structure that partially removes pockets of water from the tube surface where excitons can dissociate, and thus underscores the contribution of interfacial water in exciton recombination processes. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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