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ACS Nano. 2009 Apr 28;3(4):865-70. doi: 10.1021/nn800860m.

Noncovalent functionalization as an alternative to oxidative acid treatment of single wall carbon nanotubes with applications for polymer composites.

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  • 1Department of Material Science & Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, New York 12180, USA.


We have created stable dispersions of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in water by employing a noncovalent functionalization scheme that allows carboxylic acid moieties to be attached to the SWNT surface by a pi-pi stacking interaction. Pyrenecarboxylic acid (PCA) is noncovalently attached to the surface of SWNTs and affords highly uniform and stable aqueous dispersions. This method was developed to provide a noncovalent alternative to the commonly used oxidative acid treatment functionalization of carbon nanotubes. This alternative strategy avoids the damage to the carbon nanotube structure inherent to oxidative acid treatments. Carbon nanotubes are commonly functionalized with oxidative acid treatment schemes to create polymer-nanotube composites and improve the adhesion between the polymer and carbon nanotubes. Composites of SWNTs and polycarbonate were prepared and tested to determine the effect of PCA on the adhesion of the SWNTs to the polymer matrix. These tests confirmed that PCA improved the SWNT-polycarbonate adhesion and improved the dispersion of the SWNTs throughout the matrix. This study demonstrates that stable dispersions of SWNTs can be achieved without substantial cutting, introduction of defects, or covalent modification, by employing a simple and effective noncovalent functionalization with PCA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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