Article abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 1, 60 - 65 (2006)
Published online: 4 October 2006 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2006.52

Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Electronic properties and devices

Sorting carbon nanotubes by electronic structure using density differentiation

Michael S. Arnold1, Alexander A. Green1, James F. Hulvat1, Samuel I. Stupp1 & Mark C. Hersam1

The heterogeneity of as-synthesized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) precludes their widespread application in electronics, optics and sensing. We report on the sorting of carbon nanotubes by diameter, bandgap and electronic type using structure-discriminating surfactants to engineer subtle differences in their buoyant densities. Using the scalable technique of density-gradient ultracentrifugation, we have isolated narrow distributions of SWNTs in which >97% are within a 0.02-nm-diameter range. Furthermore, using competing mixtures of surfactants, we have produced bulk quantities of SWNTs of predominantly a single electronic type. These materials were used to fabricate thin-film electrical devices of networked SWNTs characterized by either metallic or semiconducting behaviour.

  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3108, USA

Correspondence to: Mark C. Hersam1 e-mail:


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