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Issue 12, 2010
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The importance of chain connectivity in the formation of non-covalent interactions between polymers and single-walled carbon nanotubes and its impact on dispersion

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Abstract

In this study we investigate the formation of non-covalent electron donor–acceptor (EDA) interactions between polymers and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with the goal of optimizing interfacial adhesion and homogeneity of nanocomposites without modifying the SWNT native surface. Nanocomposites of SWNTs and three sets of polymer matrices with varying composition of electron donating 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) or electron accepting acrylonitrile (AN) and cyanostyrene (CNSt) were prepared, quantitatively characterized by optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy (Raman mapping, Raman D* peak shifts) and qualitatively compared through thick film composite visualization. The experimental data show that copolymers with 30 mol% DMAEMA, 45 mol% AN, 23 mol% CNSt and polyacrylonitrile homopolymer have the highest extent of intermolecular interaction, which translates to an optimum SWNT spatial dispersion among the series. These results are found to correlate very well with the intermolecular interaction energies obtained from quantum density functional theory calculations. Both experimental and computational results also illustrate that chain connectivity is critical in controlling the accessibility of the functional groups to form intermolecular interactions. This means that an adequate distance between interacting functional groups on a polymer chain is needed in order to allow efficient intermolecular contact. Thus, controlling the amount of electron donating or withdrawing moieties throughout the polymer chain will direct the extent of EDA interaction, which enables tuning the SWNT dispersion.

Graphical abstract: The importance of chain connectivity in the formation of non-covalent interactions between polymers and single-walled carbon nanotubes and its impact on dispersion

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Sep 2009, accepted on 11 Mar 2010 and first published on 10 May 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B921170E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2010,6, 2801-2814
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    The importance of chain connectivity in the formation of non-covalent interactions between polymers and single-walled carbon nanotubes and its impact on dispersion

    D. Linton, P. Driva, B. Sumpter, I. Ivanov, D. Geohegan, C. Feigerle and M. D. Dadmun, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 2801
    DOI: 10.1039/B921170E

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