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Nano Research

Article Title

Bench-top aqueous two-phase extraction of isolated individual single-walled carbon nanotubes

Authors

Navaneetha K. Subbaiyan, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
A. Nicholas G. Parra-Vasquez, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Sofie Cambré, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Laboratory, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, B-2610, Belgium
Miguel A. Santiago Cordoba, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Sibel Ebru Yalcin, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Christopher E. Hamilton, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Nathan H. Mack, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Jeffrey L. Blackburn, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401, USA § These authors contributed equally to this work.
Stephen K. Doorn, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA
Juan G. Duque, Chemistry Division, Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group (C-PCS), Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and Materials Science & Technology Division (MST-7), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544, USA

Keywords

carbon nanotubes, aqueous two-phase (ATP) separation, aggregate removal, isolation, sorting

Abstract

Isolation and purification of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are prerequisites for their implementation in various applications. In this work, we present a fast (~5 min), low-cost, and easily scalable bench-top approach to the extraction of high-quality isolated SWCNTs from bundles and impurities in an aqueous dispersion. The extraction procedure, based on aqueous two-phase (ATP) separation, is widely applicable to any SWCNT source (tested on samples up to 1.7 nm in diameter) and independent of defect density, purity, diameter, and length. The extracted dispersions demonstrate that the removal of large aggregates, small bundles, and impurities is comparable to that by density gradient ultracentrifugation, but without the need for high-end instrumentation. Raman and fluorescence-excitation spectroscopy, single-nanotube fluorescence imaging, atomic force and transmission electron microscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis all confirm the high purity of the isolated SWCNTs. By predispersing the SWCNTs without sonication (only gentle stirring), full-length, pristine SWCNTs can be isolated (tested up to 20 μm). Hence, this simple ATP method will find immediate application in the generation of SWCNT materials for all levels of nanotube research and applications, from fundamental studies to high-performance devices.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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