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Langmuir. 2008 Mar 4;24(5):1910-7. doi: 10.1021/la702556n. Epub 2008 Jan 23.

Spontaneous functionalization of carbon black by reaction with 4-nitrophenyldiazonium cations.

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Département de Chimie, Université du Québec à Montréal, succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada.


The mechanism of the spontaneous chemical functionalization of Vulcan carbon black by reaction with 4-nitrophenyl diazonium cations was investigated by varying the reaction conditions. First, the carbon black was oxidized by nitric acid reflux to introduce oxygenated functionalities onto the surface prior to the functionalization step. Second, a reducing agent (H3PO2) was added to a solution containing 4-nitrobenzene diazonium tetrafluoroborate to generate 4-nitrophenyl radicals homogeneously in the bulk solution. The functionalized carbons were characterized by elemental analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and nitrogen adsorption isotherms using the BET isotherm and DFT Monte Carlo simulations. These characterization methods were employed to determine the grafting yield as a function of the reaction conditions. Interestingly, the grafting yield was not affected by a change in the reaction conditions. An average nitrogen content of 1.4 +/- 0.1 atom % was found by elemental analysis, and XPS showed a nitrogen surface concentration of about 3.5%. XPS also indicated an important decrease in the concentration of oxygenated functionalities upon grafting 4-nitrophenyl moieties onto the oxidized carbon black. Presumably, in this case the grafting involves either the coupling of carboxylate and 4-nitrophenyl radicals or, more likely, a concerted decarboxylation where the diazonium cation, acting as an electrophile, replaces the oxygenated groups and loss of CO2. The nitrogen adsorption isotherms of the functionalized carbon blacks suggested that the grafted groups were most probably localized at the entrance of the micropores.


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