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AC electric field for rapid assembly of nanostructured polyaniline onto microsized gap for sensor devices

Vera La Ferrara, Gabriella Rametta, Antonella Maria
Electrophoresis 2015 v.36 no.13 pp. 1459-1465
acetonitrile, air, ammonia, dielectrophoresis, electric current, electric field, electrodes, electrophoresis, nanomaterials, prototypes, temperature
Interconnected network of nanostructured polyaniline (PANI) is giving strong potential for enhancing device performances than bulk PANI counterparts. For nanostructured device processing, the main challenge is to get prototypes on large area by requiring precision, low cost and high rate assembly. Among processes meeting these requests, the alternate current electric fields are often used for nanostructure assembling. For the first time, we show the assembly of nanostructured PANI onto large electrode gaps (30–60 μm width) by applying alternate current electric fields, at low frequencies, to PANI particles dispersed in acetonitrile (ACN). An important advantage is the short assembly time, limited to 5–10 s, although electrode gaps are microsized. That encouraging result is due to a combination of forces, such as dielectrophoresis (DEP), induced‐charge electrokinetic (ICEK) flow and alternate current electroosmotic (ACEO) flow, which speed up the assembly process when low frequencies and large electrode gaps are used. The main achievement of the present study is the development of ammonia sensors created by direct assembling of nanostructured PANI onto electrodes. Sensors exhibit high sensitivity to low gas concentrations as well as excellent reversibility at room temperature, even after storage in air.