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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Oct 8;130(40):13417-24. doi: 10.1021/ja8036788. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

To dope or not to dope: the effect of sonicating single-wall carbon nanotubes in common laboratory solvents on their electronic structure.

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Department of Chemistry, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M1, Canada.


Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are commonly dispersed via sonication in a solvent prior to functionalization. We show that solvents such as dichloromethane, chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, and o-dichlorobenzene lead to an upward shift in the Raman response of the SWCNTs. We have used o-dichlorobenzene as a model molecule to explain this effect, and an upward shift of 9 cm(-1) is observed in the D* band. This blue shift is associated with p-type doping and is triggered only when the nanotubes are sonicated in the solvent. Sonication decomposes the chlorinated solvents, and new species (Cl2 and HCl(g)) are formed. The catalytic Fe nanoparticles inherently present in the nanotubes are etched by chlorine and hydrogen chloride to form iron chlorides during sonication in the solvent. The dopant was identified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. With such knowledge of doping, the choice of solvent becomes crucial for any chemical reaction and can be intentionally tuned to produce SWCNTs films for electronics applications.


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