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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2007 Jun 15;365(1855):1539-52.

Soft materials with graphitic nanostructures.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.


This review article focuses on our recent studies on novel soft materials consisting of carbon nanotubes. Single-walled carbon nanotubes, when suspended in imidazolium ion-based ionic liquids and ground in an agate mortar, form physical gels (bucky gels), where heavily entangled bundles of carbon nanotubes are exfoliated to give highly dispersed, much finer bundles. By using bucky gels, the first printable actuators that operate in air for a long time without any external electrolyte are developed. Furthermore, the use of polymerizable ionic liquids as the gelling media results in the formation of electroconductive polymer/nanotube composites with enhanced mechanical properties. The article also highlights a new family of nanotubular graphite, via self-assembly of amphiphilic hexabenzocoronene (HBC) derivatives. The nanotubes consist of a graphitic wall composed of a great number of pi-stacked HBC units and are electroconductive upon oxidation. The use of amphiphilic HBCs with functional groups results in the formation of nanotubes with various interesting properties.

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