Nano Research

Article Title

Covalent functionalization/polycarboxylation of tungsten disulfide inorganic nanotubes (INTs-WS2)


tungsten disulfide nanotubes, inorganic nanotube of tungsten disulfide (INT-WS2), Vilsmeier–Haack reagents, polycarboxylation, inorganic nanotube functionalization


Inorganic nanotubes of tungsten disulfide (INTs-WS2) are insoluble in common solvents and practically inert, hindering their usefulness in both research and commercial applications. The covalent attachment of functional species onto the surface of INT-WS2 is a critical first step in realizing the potential that INT-WS2 offer for high-performance materials and products. Although a few attempts have been reported regarding preparing modified nanotubes, only a limited range of surface functionalities is possible with these methods. We have developed a versatile method, based on a modified, highly electrophilic acidic Vilsmeier– Haack reagent, to produce covalently bonded, polycarboxylated functional WS2 nanotubes that are dispersible in polar liquids, including water. The surface polycarboxylated shell provides a means for additional derivatization, enabling matching compatibility of derivatized nanotubes to both hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials. Nanocomposites incorporating derivatized INT-WS2 are expected to show improved properties as a result of enhanced interfacial compatibility, made possible by the large number of classes of functionalization available through the initial polycarboxylation step.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press