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Luminescent Single-walled Carbon Nanotube/Silica Composite Materials

A.M. Dattelbaum, G. Gupta, J.G. Duque, C.E. Hamilton, K.A. Obrey, S.K. Doorn
Los Alamos National Laboratory, US

Keywords: photoluminescence, fluorescnece, sensing, carbon nanotube, composites


New matrices for encapsulating single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) that retain their luminescence properties are of interest in a variety of sensing, energy harvesting and photonic applications, as well as for enabling new fundamental measurements on SWNTs. We will discuss the preparation of several new luminescent nanotube/silica composite materials where the silica material is changed from a wet silica gel to a xerogel or aerogel. We will highlight the advances of our sol-gel synthesis techniques compared to other processes for luminescent SWNT composite materials. Several examples of how the luminescence from encapsulated nanotubes may be mitigated upon exposure to quenching molecules in the liquid and gas phase will also be shown and discussed. Conditions were determined that demonstrated a balance between fluorescence intensity and environmental sensitivity for surfactant-wrapped SWNT assemblies encapsulated in wet silica gels. For SWNT/aerogels, we will also present spectroscopic data that argues for a solvent and surfactant free luminescence response. The understanding about the response of SWNTs in changing environments should help determine optimal conditions for new applications utilizing the photoluminescent signal from SWNTs.
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