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Surfactants have been widely employed to debundle, disperse and stabilize carbon nanotubes in aqueous solvents. Yet, a thorough understanding of the dispersing mechanisms at molecular level is still warranted. Herein, we investigated the influence of the molecular structure of gemini surfactants on the dispersibility of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). We used dicationic n-s-n gemini surfactants, varying n and s, the number of alkyl tail and alkyl spacer carbons, respectively; for comparisons, single-tailed surfactant homologues were also studied. Detailed curves of dispersed MWNT concentration vs. surfactant concentration were obtained through a stringently controlled experimental procedure, allowing for molecular insight. The gemini are found to be much more efficient dispersants than their single-tailed homologues, i.e. lower surfactant concentration is needed to attain the maximum dispersed MWNT concentration. In general, the spacer length has a comparatively higher influence on the dispersing efficiency than the tail length. Further, scanning electron microscopy imaging shows a sizeable degree of MWNT debundling by the gemini surfactants in the obtained dispersions. Our observations also point to an adsorption process that does not entail the formation of micelle-like aggregates on the nanotube surface, but rather coverage by individual molecules, among which the ones that seem to be able to adapt best to the nanotube surface provide the highest efficiency. These studies are relevant for the rational design and choice of optimal dispersants for carbon nanomaterials and other similarly water-insoluble materials.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of colloid and interface science
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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.
Unsaturated derivatives of the ESTRANES with methyl groups at carbon-13, with no carbon at carbon-10, and with no more than one carbon at carbon-17. They must contain one or more double bonds.
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