Polymer Science Faculty Research

Carbon nanotubes: Measuring dispersion and length

Matthew Becker


Advanced technological uses of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) rely on the production of single length and chirality populations that are currently only available through liquid-phase post processing. The foundation of all of these processing steps is the attainment of individualized nanotube dispersions in solution. An understanding of the colloidal properties of the dispersed SWCNTs can then be used to design appropriate conditions for separations. In many instances nanotube size, particularly length, is especially active in determining the properties achievable in a given population, and, thus, there is a critical need for measurement technologies for both length distribution and effective separation techniques. In this Progress Report, the current state of the art for measuring dispersion and length populations, including separations, is documented, and examples are used to demonstrate the desirability of addressing these parameters.