Self-Assembled Linear Bundles of Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes and Their Alignment and Deposition as a Film in a dc Field

A one-step process of solubilization of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) in an organic solvent has enabled us to polarize them asymmetrically in a dc electric field. Quaternary ammonium ion-capped SWCNTs readily suspend in organic solvents; under the influence of a dc electric field, they assemble as stretched bundles anchored on the positive electrode. At low dc applied field (∼40 V), all of the SWCNTs from the suspension are deposited on the electrode, thus providing a simple methodology to design robust SWCNT films. At higher applied voltages (>100 V), the SWCNT bundles stretch out into the solution and orient themselves perpendicular to the electrode surface. The alignment of these bundles is responsive to the ON−OFF cycles of the applied electric field. The possibility of modulating the alignment of SWCNT in an electric field opens new ways to achieve electrical contacts in nano- to micro-devices.