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.
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This work was supported by the US Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. A National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship (M.S.A.), a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Scholarship (A.A.G.), and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (M.C.H.) are also acknowledged. Furthermore, J. Suntivich, X. Du and M. Disabb are gratefully recognized for measurement of optical absorbance spectra (J.S., X.D.) and evaporation of Au electrodes (M.D.). We thank J. Widom and the Keck Biophysics Facility for use of their ultracentrifuges, J. Chen for providing laser-ablation-grown SWNTs, and L. Palmer and Ph. Avouris for useful discussions.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Arnold, M., Green, A., Hulvat, J. et al. Sorting carbon nanotubes by electronic structure using density differentiation. Nature Nanotech 1, 60–65 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2006.52
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