Using Nonionic Surfactants for Production of Semiconductor-type Carbon Nanotubes by Gel-based Affinity Chromatography
Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have remarkable properties based on their electronic properties, i.e., metallic or semiconducting types, but as-grown SWCNTs contain a mixture of both types. Presented here is an improved and detailed method for producing highly enriched semiconducting SWCNTs from a colloidal suspension of as-grown SWCNTs through agarose gel column-based affinity chromatography. After a 2 wt% sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) aqueous dispersion of SWCNTs is passed through the gel column, metal-type SWCNTs preferentially elute out using a 1.5 wt% SDS solution. Semiconductor-type SWCNTs are subsequently recovered from the column using a 2 wt% Pluronic F77 surfactant solution eluent. The semiconductor-enriched fraction purity is in the 90-95% range, based on detailed UV-vis-NIR absorption and resonant Raman spectroscopy characterization of the particulate suspension. Semiconductor-type SWCNTs are recovered in solid form by evaporating the suspension fluid, and heating the dried sample in air to a temperature just above the Pluronic decomposition temperature. Using Pluronic and other nonionic-type surfactants can aid the scalability of the chromatographic production of semiconducting SWCNT samples.
carbon nanotube; semiconductor; single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT); separation; affinity chromatography