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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted significant attention due to their outstanding physical and chemical properties, and yet, their high natural tendency to form bundles, ropes or aggregates, as a consequence of their strong pi-pi interactions, limits their solvent processing and further applications. Efficient processing solvents, mostly amide-based, that partially compensate for these strong inter-CNT pi-pi interactions have been widely reported. However, the yield of debundled/dispersed CNTs and the stability of subsequent dispersions in these solvents remain key challenges. Moreover, there are major concerns related to the large-scale use of conventional solvents, as they are fossil-fuel based and intrinsically highly toxic, hence the need to identify environmentally-friendly and safer alternatives. Herein, we address these challenges by using a ternary system composed of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), tailored electron-deficient acceptors and an organic solvent. Not only do the electron-deficient acceptors interrupt the inter-CNTs pi-pi interactions, thereby enabling the subsequent debundling and dispersion of MWCNTs aggregates in the solvent, they also act as stabilizers, after dispersion, by inhibiting inter-CNT pi-pi interactions and re-agglomeration. The use of electron acceptors increases the yield by a factor of 165 in N-methyl 2-pyrollidone (NMP), improves the long-term stability of the debundled and dispersed MWCNTs, and reduces the energy input to only 30 minutes of mild bath sonication, compared to prolonged high energy sonication reported in literature. We also report for the first time, the use in MWCNT processing of a "green" bio-solvent, dihydrolevoglucosenone (DHLG), as an environmentally friendly and non-toxic alternative to the more conventional amide-based solvents.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
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Nanometer-sized tubes composed of various substances including carbon (CARBON NANOTUBES), boron nitride, or nickel vanadate.
Nanometer-sized tubes composed mainly of CARBON. Such nanotubes are used as probes for high-resolution structural and chemical imaging of biomolecules with ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY.
A dark powdery deposit of unburned fuel residues, composed mainly of amorphous CARBON and some HYDROCARBONS, that accumulates in chimneys, automobile mufflers and other surfaces exposed to smoke. It is the product of incomplete combustion of carbon-rich organic fuels in low oxygen conditions. It is sometimes called lampblack or carbon black and is used in INK, in rubber tires, and to prepare CARBON NANOTUBES.
NANOTUBES formed from cyclic peptides (PEPTIDES, CYCLIC). Alternating D and L linkages create planar rings that self assemble by stacking into nanotubes. They can form pores through CELL MEMBRANE causing damage to cells.
The method of measuring the dispersion of an optically active molecule to determine the relative magnitude of right- or left-handed components and sometimes structural features of the molecule.