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Ionic Liquids for Soft Functional Materials with Carbon Nanotubes

Authors

  • Takanori Fukushima Dr.,

    1. Nanospace Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology-Solution Oriented Research for Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, 2-41 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan, Fax: (+81) 3-3570-9183
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, and Center for NanoBio Integration, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan, Fax: (+81) 3-5841-7310
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  • Takuzo Aida Prof. Dr.

    1. Nanospace Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology-Solution Oriented Research for Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, 2-41 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan, Fax: (+81) 3-3570-9183
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Engineering, and Center for NanoBio Integration, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan, Fax: (+81) 3-5841-7310
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Abstract

A serendipitous finding that ionic liquids gel with carbon nanotubes has opened a new possibility of ionic liquids as modifiers for carbon nanotubes. Upon being ground into ionic liquids, carbon nanotube bundles are untangled, and the resultant fine bundles form a network structure. This is due to the possible specific interaction between the imidazolium ion component and the π-electronic nanotube surface. The resultant gelatinous materials, consisting of highly electroconductive nanowires and fluid electrolytes, can be utilized for a wide variety of electrochemical applications, such as sensors, capacitors, and actuators. Ionic liquids allow for noncovalent and covalent modifications of carbon nanotubes and fabrication of polymer composites with enhanced physical properties. The processing of carbon nanotubes with ionic liquids is not accompanied by the disruption of the π-conjugated nanotube structure and does not require solvents; therefore it can readily be scaled up. This article focuses on new aspects of ionic liquids for designer soft materials based on carbon nanotubes.

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