Green activation using reducing agents of carbon-based 3D printed electrodes: Turning good electrodes to great

Edurne Redondo, Jose Muñoz, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


3D printing of carbon-based nanocomposites, which combine the electrical properties of carbon additives with the benefits of thermoplastics, has emerged as a promising route towards rapid and low-cost manufacturing of customised-shaped electronic devices with minimised waste. However, their poor electrical activity in their pristine state makes activation post-treatments mandatory to reduce the amount of insulating polymer. These post-treatments typically involve the use of toxic organic solvents or costly thermal annealing methods. Herein, a simple eco-friendly wet-chemical post-treatment is presented for the quick and general activation of carbon-based 3D printed electronic devices by employing reducing agents like ascorbic acid or sodium borohydride. We tested a range of reducing agents, such as sodium borohydride, lithium aluminium hydride, hydrazine and ascorbic acid, as well as a model oxidising agent like hydrogen peroxide. We found that ascorbic acid and sodium borohydride are the most effective chemicals to achieve electrically active devices while preserving the shape and structure of the 3D printed carbon objects. Thus, this work allows the development of advanced carbon-based 3D printed electrodes by employing an eco-friendly activation approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 30

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E. R. and J. M. contributed equally to this work. M.P. acknowledge the financial support of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic by the GACR EXPRO 19–26896X project. Authors acknowledge CzechNanoLab Research Infrastructure supported by LM2018110 MEYS CR 2020–2022 . Authors would like to thank Dr. Richard Fields for checking the English writing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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