Nanosheet-Stabilized Emulsions: Near-Minimum Loading and Surface Energy Design of Conductive Networks

Sean P. Ogilvie, Matthew J. Large, Marcus A. O’Mara, Anne C. Sehnal, Aline Amorim Graf, Peter J. Lynch, Adam J. Cass, Jonathan P. Salvage, Marco Alfonso, Philippe Poulin, Alice A.K. King, Alan B. Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we develop a framework for assembly, understanding, and application of functional emulsions stabilized by few-layer pristine two-dimensional (2D) nanosheets. Liquid-exfoliated graphene and MoS2 are demonstrated to stabilize emulsions at ultralow nanosheet volume fractions, approaching the minimum loading achievable with 2D materials. These nanosheet-stabilized emulsions allow controlled droplet deposition free from the coffee ring effect to facilitate single-droplet devices from minute quantities of material or assembly into large-area films with high network conductivity. To broaden the range of compositions and subsequent applications, an understanding of emulsion stability and orientation in terms of surface energy of the three phases is developed. Importantly, this model facilitates determination of the surface energies of the nanosheets themselves and identifies strategies based on surface tension and pH to allow design of emulsion structures. Finally, this approach is used to prepare conductive silicone emulsion composites with a record-low loading level and excellent electromechanical sensitivity. The versatility of these nanosheet-stabilized emulsions illustrates their potential for low-loading composites, thin-film formation and surface energy determination, and the design of functional structures for a range of segregated network applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1973
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the University of Sussex for strategic development funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society


  • emulsions
  • graphene
  • liquid phase exfoliation
  • molybdenum disulfide
  • surface energy


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