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Langmuir. 2012 Aug 14;28(32):11676-86. doi: 10.1021/la302004p. Epub 2012 Jul 30.

Fluorophore and dye-assisted dispersion of carbon nanotubes in aqueous solution.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


DNA short oligo, surfactant, peptides, and polymer-assisted dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNTs) in aqueous solution have been intensively studied. It has been suggested that van der Waals interaction, π-π stacking, and hydrophobic interaction are major factors that account for the SWCNTs dispersion. Fluorophore and dye molecules such as Rhodamine B and fluorescein have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties. These molecules also contain π-conjugated systems that can potentially interact with SWCNTs to induce its dispersion. Through a systematic study, here we show that SWCNTs can be dispersed in aqueous solution in the presence of various fluorophore or dye molecules. However, the ability of a fluorophore or dye molecule to disperse SWCNTs is not correlated with the stability of the fluorophore/dye-SWCNT complex, suggesting that the on-rate of fluorophore/dye binding to SWCNTs may dominate the efficiency of this process. We also examined the uptake of fluorophore molecules by mammalian cells when these molecules formed complexes with SWCNTs. The results can have potential applications in the delivery of poor cell-penetrating fluorophore molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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