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Selective Removal of Metallic Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with Small Diameters by Using Nitric and Sulfuric Acids

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journal contribution
posted on 20.10.2005, 00:00 by Cheol-Min Yang, Jin Sung Park, Kay Hyeok An, Seong Chu Lim, Kwanyong Seo, Bongsoo Kim, Kyung Ah Park, Seungwu Han, Chong Yun Park, Young Hee Lee
Coexistence of metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes has often been a bottleneck in many applications and much fundamental research. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were dissolved in HNO3/H2SO4 mixture to confirm differing reactivity between metallic (m) and semiconducting (s) SWCNTs. With HNO3/H2SO4 treatment, s-SWCNTs remained intact, while m-SWCNTs were completely removed for SWCNTs with small diameters less than 1.1 nm, which was confirmed by resonant Raman and optical absorption spectra. We also showed that nitronium ions (NO2+) dissolved in the HNO3/H2SO4 solution could preferably attack the m-SWCNTs, which was supported by our theoretical calculation. This clear selectivity can be explained by the preferential adsorption of positively charged NO2+ on m-SWCNTs due to more available electron densities at the Fermi level in the m-SWCNTs. We report for the first time a selective removal of small-diameter m-SWCNTs by using HNO3/H2SO4 solution, which presented a striking contrast to the diameter-selective removal of SWCNTs by oxidative etching reported previously.