Amphiphilic silicones for the facile dispersion of carbon nanotubes and formation of soft skin electrodes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Flexible, dry skin electrodes represent a potentially superior alternative to standard Ag/AgCl metal electrodes for wearable devices used in long-term monitoring. Herein, such electrodes were formed using a facile method for dispersing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a silicone matrix using custom amphiphilic dispersive additives (DSPAs). Using only brief mixing and without the use of solvents or surface modification of CNTs, twelve poly(ethylene oxide)-silanes (PEO-SAs) of varying crosslinkability, architecture, siloxane tether length, and molar ratio of siloxane:PEO were combined with an addition cure silicone and CNTs. Nearly all PEO-SA modified silicone-CNT composites demonstrated improved conductivity compared to the unmodified composite. Best conductivities correlated to composites prepared with PEO-SAs that formed micelles of particular sizes (d ~ 200 - 300 nm) and coincided to PEO-SAs with a siloxane:PEO molar ratio of ~ 0.75 - 3.00. Superior dispersion of CNT by such PEO-SAs was exemplified by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Advantageously, modified composites retained their moduli, rather than becoming more rigid. Resultant electrodes fabricated with modified composites showed skin-electrode impedance comparable to that of Ag/AgCl electrodes. Combined, these results demonstrate the potential of silicone-CNT composites prepared with PEO-SA DSPAs as flexible, dry electrodes as a superior alternative to traditional electrodes.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Polym Mater

author list (cited authors)

  • Marmo, A. C., Lott, L. R., Pickett, J. H., Koller, H. E., Nitschke, B. M., & Grunlan, M. A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Marmo, Alec C||Lott, Lucas R||Pickett, Jackson H||Koller, Harrison E||Nitschke, Brandon M||Grunlan, Melissa A

publication date

  • January 2023