Protonation effects on the branching ratio in photoexcited single-walled carbon nanotube dispersions

Nano Lett. 2008 Apr;8(4):1047-54. doi: 10.1021/nl072809g. Epub 2008 Mar 5.


The ensemble PL quantum yield for raw single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) dispersed in sodium cholate (SC) is approximately 5 times greater than that for the same raw SWNTs dispersed in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and approximately 10 times greater than the quantum yield of purified SWNTs dispersed in SC. Absorbance and Raman spectra indicate that purified SC-dispersed SWNTs and raw SDS-dispersed SWNTs are hole-doped by protonation. Experiments comparing PL emission efficiency using E2 and E1 excitation show that protonation significantly affects the E2 --> E1 relaxation process, which has typically been assumed to occur with unit efficiency. The E2 --> E 1 relaxation is 5 times more efficient in producing E 1 PL when SWNTs are unprotonated and protected by the SC surfactant. The results provide clear evidence that extrinsic factors, such as residual acids and the specific nature of SWNT-surfactant and SWNT-solvent interactions, can significantly affect measured SWNT luminescence quantum yields.