Development of new techniques for functionalizing single-wall carbon nanotubes for composite and biological systems
Hudson, Jared Lee
Tour, James M.
Doctor of Philosophy
Building from established methods of using diazonium salts to derivatize single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), new methodologies for achieving functionalized individual nanotubes that are compatible with a wide variety of materials have been developed. The use of aryl triazenes as diazonium precursors to functionalize surfactant stabilized suspensions of individual SWNTs has resulted in the ability to synthesize more complex molecules bearing a diazonium salt precursor. Prior to this work, such functionality was difficult to install in complex molecules due to the required linearity of diazonium salt synthesis. A protocol to access individualized SWNTs without the use of scale-limiting techniques such as high powered sonication and centrifugation was achieved by the use of oleum as a solvent for underivatized SWNTs. This disentangled suspension of SWNTs was then treated with a modification of an established in-situ diazonium functionalization protocol to yield alcohol and water-soluble, exfoliated, nonroping SWNTs. Functionalized SWNTs were used as polymerization initiators for both anionic and atom transfer radical polymerization. They were used to reinforce poly(dimethylsiloxane) and poly(propylene fumarate) based composites. The functionalized SWNTs were also used as a support for neuronal interface systems and to reinforce the collagen network in rat cervical tissue. Through continued functionalization and PEGylation (poly(ethylene glycol) attachment) of cut SWNTs, the development of a SWNT-based, viable nanovector core has been achieved. Continued functionalization provides one with the ability to further derivatize aqueous suspensions of previously functionalized SWNTs, while the PEGylation of cut SWNTs offers solubility in water, irrigation saline, and phosphate buffered saline. Using the developed SWNT-based nanovector core, molecules that are relevant for attachment to a nanovector were targeted. This includes a fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate (FITC) terminated PEG bound to a cut SWNT. This was done to add an imaging component to the nanovector core system.