Selectivity of Conjugated Polymers for the Electronic Nature of Carbon Nanotubes

A. Adronov
McMaster University,
Canada

Keywords: CNT, SWNT, Conjugated Polymers

Summary:

Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWNTs) exhibit a number of unique mechanical, thermal, and electronic properties that render them useful for numerous applications, ranging from molecular electronics to nano-scale construction materials. Although these numerous potential applications can have a significant impact on future technologies, the commercial exploitation of SWNTs has, thus far, been extremely limited. The highly insoluble nature of these materials is one of the major limitations to their applications, as they cannot be manipulated in solution at practical concentrations using any known solvents. In addition, the presence of both metallic and semiconducting SWNTs within all commercially available samples poses a major challenge in electronic applications. Supramolecular functionalization of SWNTs provides a versatile method to address many of these limitations. Specifically, the π-stacking interactions between conjugated polymers and SWNTs has been proven effective not only in dispersing individual nanotubes in a variety of solvents, but also in selectively interacting with semiconducting SWNTs. However, the selectivity of this polymer-SWNT interaction is still poorly understood, and requires improvement. Thus, investigation of new polymer structures that exhibit selective interactions with different nanotube types and diameters is warranted. We have devoted significant effort toward developing an understanding of the subtle impact that polymer structure has on nanotube selectivity, and have designed new polymers that can bind and release SWNTs upon application of a stimulus. Additionally, we are interested in designing conjugated polymers that bind SWNTs and enable their dispersion within bulk host materials or deposition on surfaces in defined patterns. We aim to understand the architectural parameters necessary to produce electrically conductive SWNT-containing materials.