Highly selective dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes using aromatic polymers

Nat Nanotechnol. 2007 Oct;2(10):640-6. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2007.290. Epub 2007 Sep 16.


Solubilizing and purifying carbon nanotubes remains one of the foremost technological hurdles in their investigation and application. We report a dramatic improvement in the preparation of single-walled carbon nanotube solutions based on the ability of specific aromatic polymers to efficiently disperse certain nanotube species with a high degree of selectivity. Evidence of this is provided by optical absorbance and photoluminescence excitation spectra, which show suspensions corresponding to up to approximately 60% relative concentration of a single species of isolated nanotubes with fluorescence quantum yields of up to 1.5%. Different polymers show the ability to discriminate between nanotube species in terms of either diameter or chiral angle. Modelling suggests that rigid-backbone polymers form ordered molecular structures surrounding the nanotubes with n-fold symmetry determined by the tube diameter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry*
  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / chemistry*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Polymers / chemistry*


  • Colloids
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Polymers