Dispersions of Functionalized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Strong Acids:Solubility and Rheology

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The manipulation and processing of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is limited by their poor solubility in most common solvents. Covalent sidewall functionalization of SWNTs provides an excellent route to improve their solubility. Here we have studied the relationship between sidewall functionalization and phase behavior of solutions of functionalized SWNTs (f-SWNTs) in strong acids. We use centrifugation in conjunction with UV-Vis-nIR spectroscopy to quantify the solubility of f-SWNTs in strong acids. We image the dispersions of functionalized tubes by polarized light microscopy. We find that adding butyl groups increases marginally the solubility of SWNTs in 102% sulfuric acid in the isotropic phase; adding 9-nonadecyne groups roughly doubles the solubility of SWNTs. Viscosity measurements in dilute solutions are sensitive to de-bundling. We compare the viscosity-concentration dependence of dilute pristine and f-SWNTs to assess whether and how functionalization promotes de-bundling and stabilizes the tubes. The phase behavior and rheology of these f-SWNTs parallels with that of pristine SWNTs; 9-nonadecylated SWNTs have higher solubility and should be easier to process.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jnn.2007.835

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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