Carbon Nanotube Dispersion : Science or Art?

J. Nguendia Zeuna, W. Zhong, J. Claverie
Quebec Center for Functional Materials, NanoQAM, CA

Keywords: CNT, dispersion


We have developed a series of strategies to unravel the mechanism of adsorption of surfactants and polymeric dispersants onto SWNT and MWNT. Using these guidelines, we have prepared a novel series of polymeric surfactants that very strongly adsorb onto the nanotube surface, using a controlled radical RAFT polymerization process. They allow to disperse single wall and multi wall nanotubes in either organic solvents (isooctane, THF) or in water, even at high concentration of carbon nanotubes (c = 50 g.L-1 or higher). For each set of dispersion experiments, Langmuir absorption isotherms have been established by varying temperature and the nature of electrolytes. Dispersion have also been studied by Raman spectroscopy (RBM bands), AFM, TEM microscopy and broadband dielectric spectroscopy. This study has allowed us to elaborate a strategy for successful dispersion of nanotubes followed by their encapsulation in a variety of polymers.