Purification of Carbon Nanotube Species

  • Author: Rice University/ChemViews
  • Published: 17 May 2010
  • Source / Publisher: Rice University/Nat. Nanotechnol.
thumbnail image: Purification of Carbon Nanotube Species
Rice University, Houston, TX, USA, researchers, Junichiro Kono and Bruce Weisman, report using ultracentrifugation (UCF) to create highly purified samples of carbon nanotube species.


The process involves suspending mixtures of single-walled carbon nanotubes in combinations of surfactant-based liquids of different densities. Each nanotube species has its own density and electronic and optical characteristics and when spun by a centrifuge at up to 250,000 g the nanotubes migrate to the liquids that match their densities.

Metallic nanotubes rose to the top of the vial while the semiconducting nanotubes sank to the bottom. It was shown that nearly all of the metallic tubes were armchair single-walled nanotubes, the most desirable species for the manufacture of quantum nanowire.


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