Diameter Refinement of Semiconducting Arc Discharge Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes via Density Gradient Ultracentrifugation

Citation: Jung-Woo T. Seo, Nathan L. Yoder, Tejas A. Shastry, Jefford J. Humes, James E. Johns, Alexander A. Green, and Mark C. HersamJ. Phys. Chem. Lett. (2013), 4(17), pp 2805-2810.

Summary: Arc discharge single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) possess superlative optical and electronic properties that are of high interest for technologically important applications including fiber optic communications, biomedical imaging, and field-effect transistors. However, as-grown arc discharge SWCNTs possess a mixture of metallic and semiconducting species in addition to a wide diameter distribution (1.2 to 1.7 nm) that limit their performance in devices. While previous postsynthetic sorting efforts have achieved separation by electronic type and diameter refinement for metallic arc discharge SWCNTs, tight diameter distributions of semiconducting arc discharge SWCNTs have not yet been realized. Herein, we present two advances in density gradient ultracentrifugation that enable the isolation of high purity (>99%) semiconducting arc discharge SWCNTs with narrow diameter distributions centered at 1.6 and 1.4 nm. The resulting diameter-refined populations of semiconducting arc discharge SWCNTs possess monodisperse characteristics that are well-suited for high-performance optical and electronic technologies.