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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • interfaces;
  • modification;
  • nanotechnology;
  • polystyrene

ABSTRACT

The in situ polymerization functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) with polystyrene (PS) is demonstrated utilizing stabilized nanotubes reduced by dissolution of excess lithium in ammonia. Short PS chains are tethered to SWNT sidewalls to facilitate a robust compatibilization strategy for nanotube dispersion. To augment extents of functionalization, while maintaining in situ dispersion stability, the effects of multiple monomer addition steps and varied carbon to lithium ratio are studied. The developed functionalization scheme is also effective for the reductive alkylation of SWNT with dodecyl surface groups. By studying the dodecylated SWNT, the molecular weight of grafted PS chains is estimated. The discovery of a general experimental artifact has implications for all functionalization routes utilizing reduction with lithium in ammonia. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2013, 51, 3716–3725