A one-step route to solubilised, purified or functionalised single-walled carbon nanotubes†
Reductive dissolution is a promising processing route for single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that avoids the damage caused by ultrasonication and aggressive oxidation whilst simultaneously allowing access to a wealth of SWCNT functionalisation reactions. Here, reductive dissolution has been simplified to a single one-pot reaction through the use of sodium naphthalide in dimethylacetamide allowing direct synthesis of SWCNT Na+ solutions. Gram quantities of SWCNTs can be dissolved at concentrations over 2 mg mL−1. These reduced SWCNT solutions can easily be functionalised through the addition of alkyl halides; reducing steric bulk of the grafting moiety and increasing polarisability of the leaving group increases the extent of functionalisation. An optimised absolute sodium concentration of 25 mM is shown to be more important than carbon to metal ratio in determining the maximum degree of functionalisation. This novel dissolution system can be modified for use as a non-destructive purification route for raw SWCNT powder by adjusting the degree of charging to dissolve carbonaceous impurities, catalyst particles and defective material, before processing the remaining SWCNTs.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Highlighting materials research in the UK for energy and sustainability