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Nano Lett. 2005 Jan;5(1):163-8.

Controlled multistep purification of single-walled carbon nanotubes.

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Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Rice University, MS-100, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.


A controlled and scalable multistep purification method has been developed to remove iron impurity and nonnanotube carbon materials from raw single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) produced in the HiPco (high-pressure CO) process. In this study, iron nanoparticles, coated by carbon, are exposed and oxidized by multiple step oxidation at increasing temperatures. To avoid catalytic oxidation by iron oxide of carbon nanotubes, the exposed and oxidized iron oxide is deactivated by reaction with C(2)H(2)F(4) or SF(6). The iron fluorides are removed by a Soxhlet extraction with a 6 M HCl solution. The purity and quality of each sample were determined by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Raman spectrometry, ultraviolet-visible-near-IR (UV-vis-near-IR) spectrometry, fluorescence spectrometry, and transmission electron microscope (TEM) spectroscopy. The purity and yield of SWNTs are improved due to reduced catalytic activity of the iron oxide. Greater iron oxide removal also resulted from oxidation at higher temperatures.


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