Enhanced Conductivity, Adhesion, and Environmental Stability of Printed Graphene Inks with Nitrocellulose

Ethan B. Secor, Theodore Z. Gao, Ahmad E. Islam, Rahul Rao, Shay G. Wallace, Jian Zhu, Karl W. Putz, Benji Maruyama, Mark C. Hersam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Recent developments in liquid-phase processing of carbon nanomaterials have established graphene as a promising candidate for printed electronics. Of great importance in the ink formulation is the stabilizer, which has to provide excellent dispersion stability and tunability in the liquid state, and also decompose into chemical moieties that promote high electrical conductivity and robust mechanical and environmental stability. Here we demonstrate the promise of nitrocellulose as a synergistic polymer stabilizer for graphene inks. Graphene processed with nitrocellulose is formulated into inks with viscosities ranging over 4 orders of magnitude for compatibility with a wide range of deposition methods. Following thermal treatment, the graphene/nitrocellulose films offer high electrical conductivity of ∼40 000 S/m, along with mechanical flexibility. Moreover, in contrast to state-of-the-art graphene inks based on ethyl cellulose, the nitrocellulose residue offers superior mechanical and environmental stability as assessed by a suite of stress tests, including the Scotch tape test, a water sonication test, and an 85/85 damp heat test. By exploring the fundamental chemistry underlying these macroscopic benefits, we provide insight into binder selection for functional nanomaterial inks while producing a high-performance graphene ink with strong potential for printed and flexible electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2332-2340
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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