Noncovalent functionalization of carbon nanotubes with meso-tetraphenylporphine (H2TPP) and its metal(II) complexes NiTPP and CoTPP was studied by means of different experimental techniques and theoretical calculations. As follows from the experimental adsorption curves, free H2TPP ligand exhibits the strongest adsorption of three porphyrins tested, followed by CoTPP and NiTPP. At the highest porphyrin concentrations studied, the adsorption at multi-walled carbon nanotubes was about 2% (by weight) for H2TPP, 1% for CoTPP, and 0.5% for NiTPP. Transmission electron microscopy observations revealed carbon nanotubes with a variable degree of surface coverage with porphyrin molecules. According to scanning electron microscopy, the nanotubes glue together rather than debundle; apparently, a large porphyrin excess resulting in polymolecular adsorption is essential for exfoliation/debundling of the nanotube ropes. The nanotube/porphyrins hybrids were studied by infrared and Raman spectroscopy, as well as by scanning tunneling microscopy. Electronic structure calculations were performed at the B3LYP/LANL2MB theoretical level with the unsubstituted porphine (H2P) and its Co(II) complex, on one hand, and open-end armchair (5,5) (ANT) and zigzag (8,0) (ZNT) SWNT models, on the other hand. The interaction of H2P with ANT was found to be by 3.9 kcal mol−1 stronger than that of CoP. At the same time, CoP + ZNT complex is more stable by 42.7 kcal mol−1 as compared to H2 P + ZNT. According to these calculated results, the free porphyrins interact less selectively with zigzag and armchair (i.e., semiconducting and metallic) nanotubes, whereas the difference becomes very large for the metal porphyrins. HOMO–LUMO structure, electrostatic potential and spin density distribution for the paramagnetic cobalt(II) complexes were analyzed.
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