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Keywords:

  • aggregation;
  • amphiphiles;
  • bundling;
  • fluorescence;
  • nanotubes

Abstract

A series of nonionic amphiphiles derived from polyglycerol dendrons were studied for their ability to solubilize and isolate single-walled carbon nanotubes. The amphiphiles possessed differently sized polar head groups, hydrophobic tail units, and various aromatic and non-aromatic groups between the head and tail groups. Absorbance analysis revealed that amphiphiles with anchor groups derived from pyrene were far inferior to those that possessed simple linear aliphatic tail groups. Absorbance and near-infrared fluorescence analyses revealed a weak dependence on the dendron size of the head group, but a strong positive trend in suspended nanotube density and fluorescence intensity for amphiphiles with longer tail units. Variations in the moieties linking the head and tail groups led to a range of effects on the suspensions, with linkers imparting flexibility and a bent shape that gave improved performance overall. This was illustrated most dramatically by a pair of benzamide-containing amphiphiles, the para isomer of which showed evidence in the fluorescence data of increased nanotube aggregate formation when compared with the meta isomer. In addition, statistical AFM was used to illustrate more directly the microscopic differences between amphiphiles that were effective at nanotube bundle disruption and those that were not.