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Phase Transfer Catalysts Drive Diverse Organic Solvent Solubility of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Helically Wrapped by Ionic, Semiconducting Polymers

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journal contribution
posted on 13.10.2010, 00:00 by Pravas Deria, Louise E. Sinks, Tae-Hong Park, Diana M. Tomezsko, Matthew J. Brukman, Dawn A. Bonnell, Michael J. Therien
Use of phase transfer catalysts such as 18-crown-6 enables ionic, linear conjugated poly[2,6-{1,5-bis(3-propoxysulfonicacidsodiumsalt)}naphthylene]ethynylene (PNES) to efficiently disperse single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in multiple organic solvents under standard ultrasonication methods. Steady-state electronic absorption spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reveal that these SWNT suspensions are composed almost exclusively of individualized tubes. High-resolution TEM and AFM data show that the interaction of PNES with SWNTs in both protic and aprotic organic solvents provides a self-assembled superstructure in which a PNES monolayer helically wraps the nanotube surface with periodic and constant morphology (observed helical pitch length = 10 ± 2 nm); time-dependent examination of these suspensions indicates that these structures persist in solution over periods that span at least several months. Pump−probe transient absorption spectroscopy reveals that the excited state lifetimes and exciton binding energies of these well-defined nanotube-semiconducting polymer hybrid structures remain unchanged relative to analogous benchmark data acquired previously for standard sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS)-SWNT suspensions, regardless of solvent. These results demonstrate that the use of phase transfer catalysts with ionic semiconducting polymers that helically wrap SWNTs provide well-defined structures that solubulize SWNTs in a wide range of organic solvents while preserving critical nanotube semiconducting and conducting properties.