Simple, low-cost, water-processable n-type thermoelectric composite films from multiwall carbon nanotubes in polyvinylpyrrolidone

Ruben Sarabia-Riquelme, John Craddock, E. Ashley Morris, David Eaton, Rodney Andrews, John Anthony, Matthew C. Weisenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A significant challenge facing the advancement of organic thermoelectric devices is developing low-cost, solution-processable, air-stable, high performance n-type materials. In this work, we fabricate multiwall carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) composite films by simply dispersing MWCNTs and PVP in water and spraying the resulting ink onto a substrate. We report a switch in the Seebeck coefficient of the MWCNTs from p-type to n-type behavior, even when the concentration of MWCNTs is as high as 90 wt.% in PVP. Additionally, we observe a great enhancement of the thermoelectric properties of the material when low quantities of polyethyleneimine (PEI) are added, reaching an n-type power factor of 1.98 μW m−1 K−2 for a composite film containing 30 wt.% MWCNTs in PVP and 0.05 PEI/MWCNT wt. ratio. Furthermore, the material shows good air and thermal stability. We believe that the low-cost of the components, the air-stability and the simplicity of the water-processable system make PVP/MWCNTs a potential n-type organic material for future thermoelectric applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalSynthetic Metals
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • N-type
  • Organic material
  • Polymer composites
  • Seebeck coefficient
  • Thermoelectricity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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