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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Feb;396(3):1071-7. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-3319-2. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Applications of TGA in quality control of SWCNTs.

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Materials Reliability Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, CO 80305, USA.


Carbon nanotubes exhibit a range of chemistries, including mixtures of different nanotube diameters, lengths, and chiralities coupled with various concentrations of metallic and non-nanotube-carbon impurities. The performance of a given material for a specific application depends on the chemistry, which is dictated in large part by the manufacturing process. Here, thermogravimetric analysis is utilized as a bulk characterization method for determining nanotube quality after manufacturing. The application of thermogravimetric analysis for quantifying basic nanotube chemistry is described (e.g., carbon-to-metal content, homogeneity). In addition, extension of the method to analyze specific nanotube properties (i.e., length and diameter) is reported. Results indicate that thermogravimetric analysis is sufficiently sensitive to enable quality control at both the macro-scale (carbon-to-metal ratio) and nano-scale (single-walled to multi-walled) and can detect subtle modifications in manufacturing processes.

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