Letter abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 2, 692 - 697 (2007)
Published online: 14 October 2007 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2007.334

Subject terms: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Computational nanotechnology

Single functional group interactions with individual carbon nanotubes

Raymond W. Friddle1,6, Melburne C. Lemieux1,2,6,7, Giancarlo Cicero3, Alexander B. Artyukhin1, Vladimir V. Tsukruk2, Jeffrey C. Grossman4, Giulia Galli5 & Aleksandr Noy1

Carbon nanotubes1 display a consummate blend of materials properties that affect applications ranging from nanoelectronic circuits2 and biosensors3 to field emitters4 and membranes5. These applications use the non-covalent interactions between the nanotubes and chemical functionalities6, often involving a few molecules at a time. Despite their wide use, we still lack a fundamental understanding and molecular-level control of these interactions. We have used chemical force microscopy7 to measure the strength of the interactions of single chemical functional groups with the sidewalls of vapour-grown individual single-walled carbon nanotubes. Surprisingly, the interaction strength does not follow conventional trends of increasing polarity or hydrophobicity, and instead reflects the complex electronic interactions between the nanotube and the functional group. Ab initio calculations confirm the observed trends and predict binding force distributions for a single molecular contact that match the experimental results. Our analysis also reveals the important role of molecular linkage dynamics in determining interaction strength at the single functional group level.

  1. Chemistry Materials and Life Science Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, California 94550, USA
  2. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 771 Ferst Drive, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA
  3. Physics Department, Politecnico of Torino, C.so Duca Degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
  4. Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  5. University of California, One Shields Ave, Davis, California 95616, USA
  6. These authors contributed equally to this work
  7. Present address: Chemical Engineering Department, Stanford University, 381 North-South Mall, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Correspondence to: Aleksandr Noy1 e-mail: noy1@llnl.gov


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