Structure-Dependent Thermal Defunctionalization of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Wednesday, October 14, 2015: 15:40
Borein B (Hyatt Regency)
S. Ghosh, F. Wei, S. M. Bachilo, R. Hauge, W. E. Billups (Rice University), and R. B. Weisman (Rice University)
Covalent sidewall functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) is an important tool for tailoring their properties for research purposes and applications. In this study, SWCNT samples were first functionalized by reductive alkylation using metallic lithium and 1-iodododecane in liquid ammonia. Samples of the alkyl-functionalized SWCNTs were then pyrolyzed under an inert atmosphere at selected temperatures between 100 and 500 °C to remove the addends. The extent of defunctionalization was assessed using a combination of thermogravimetric analysis, Raman measurements of the RBM, D, and G bands, absorption spectroscopy of the first- and second-order van Hove peaks, and near-IR fluorescence spectroscopy of (n,m)-specific emission bands. These measurements all indicate a substantial dependence of defunctionalization rate on nanotube diameter, with larger diameter nanotubes showing more facile loss of addends. The effective activation energy for defunctionalization is estimated to be a factor of ~1.44 greater for 0.76 nm diameter nanotubes as compared to those with 1.24 nm diameter. The experimental findings also reveal the quantitative variation with functionalization density of the Raman D/G intensity ratio and the relative near-IR fluorescence intensity. Pyrolyzed samples show spectroscopic properties that are equivalent to those of SWCNTs prior to functionalization. The strong structure-dependence of defunctionalization rate suggests a new approach for diameter-sorting of mixed SWCNT samples on relatively large scales without ultrasonic agitation.