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Issue 13, 2016
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Light-controllable dispersion and recovery of graphenes and carbon nanotubes using a photo-switchable surfactant

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Abstract

The aqueous dispersibility of carbon-based nanomaterials, namely graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), can be controlled by light via the photoisomerisation of a photoswitchable surfactant molecule adsorbed to the surface of these materials. By incorporating a cationic azobenzene photosurfactant into these systems, GO, rGO and CNT dispersions can be separated and redispersed on command utilising UV radiation at 365 nm, whereby the surfactant molecules change from the trans to the cis isomer. This increases their aqueous solubility and in turn, alters their adsorption affinity for the GO and rGO sheets such that the ratio of free to adsorbed surfactant molecules changes significantly, allowing for reversible phase separation of the colloids. These effects present a unique method for controlling the dispersion behaviour of two-dimensional nanomaterials using light as a clean and low energy external stimulus.

Graphical abstract: Light-controllable dispersion and recovery of graphenes and carbon nanotubes using a photo-switchable surfactant

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jan 2016, accepted on 06 Mar 2016 and first published on 07 Mar 2016


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00075D
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Nanoscale, 2016,8, 6969-6974

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    Light-controllable dispersion and recovery of graphenes and carbon nanotubes using a photo-switchable surfactant

    T. M. McCoy, A. C. Y. Liu and R. F. Tabor, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 6969
    DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00075D

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