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Modifying the conductivity of polypyrrole through low-energy lead ion implantation

Abstract

Interest lies in the creation of novel nanocomposite materials obtained through mixing, impregnation or incorporation techniques. One such technique is ion implantation which possesses the potential for retaining properties from the base material and implanted material as well as any effects observed from combining the two. To this end low-energy (15 keV) implantation of lead ions of various fluences was performed in conducting polypyrrole films. The presence of lead-rich particles was evidenced through transmission electron microscopy. An interesting trend was observed between fluence and conductivity. Of the fluences tested, the optimum fluences of lead ion implantation in polypyrrole films for enhanced conductivity are 5 × 1014 at. cm−2 and 2 × 1015 at. cm−2. The conductivity and stability appear to result from a combination of effects: polymer degradation arising from ion beam damage, an increase in charge-carriers (dications) present after implantation and precipitation of Pb-rich nanoparticles. Monitoring conductivity over time showed increased retention of conductivity levels after lead implantation. Improvements in stability for polypyrrole open avenues for application and bring polypyrrole one step closer to practical use. A mechanism is suggested for this advantageous retained conductivity.

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