Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nanjing Tech University stabilizes CNTs with block copolymers and add functionality by ALD

Here is a recent publication from from a lab at Nanjing Tech University stabilizes carbon nanotubes with block copolymers and add functionality by ALD TiO2.

Surface functionalization of carbon nanotubes by direct encapsulation with varying dosages of amphiphilic block copolymers

Xueping Yao et al 2015 Nanotechnology 26 325601. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/26/32/325601

Encapsulation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by amphiphilic block copolymers is an efficient way to stabilize CNTs in solvents. However, the appropriate dosages of copolymers and the assembled structures are difficult to predict and control because of the insufficient understanding on the encapsulation process. We encapsulate multiwalled CNTs with polystyrene-block-poly (4-vinyl pyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) by directly mixing them in acetic acid under sonication. The copolymer forms a lamellar structure along the surface of CNTs with the PS blocks anchoring on the tube wall and the P4VP blocks exposed to the outside. The encapsulated CNTs achieve good dispersibility in polar solvents over long periods. To increase our understanding of the encapsulation process we investigate the assembled structures and stability of copolymer/CNTs mixtures with changing mass ratios. Stable dispersions are obtained at high mass ratios between the copolymer and CNTs, i.e. 2 or 3, with the presence of free spherical micelles. Transmission electron microscopy and thermal gravimetric analysis determine that the threshold for the complete coverage of CNTs by the copolymer occurs at the mass ratio of 1.5. The coated copolymer layer activates the surface of CNTs, enabling further functionalization of CNTs. For instance, atomic layer deposition of TiO2 produces conformal thin layers on the encapsulated CNTs while isolated TiO2 bumps are produced on the pristine, inert CNTs.

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