Advertisement

pH-Sensitive Dispersion and Debundling of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes: Lysozyme as a Tool

Authors

  • Dhriti Nepal,

    1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 1 Oryong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, South Korea, Fax: (+82) 62-970-2338
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kurt E. Geckeler Prof. Dr.

    1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 1 Oryong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, South Korea, Fax: (+82) 62-970-2338
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Highly dispersed and debundled carbon nanotubes were prepared in an aqueous solution of lysozyme using a combination of ultrasonication and ultracentrifugation. The product is a pH-sensitive dispersion, which remains in a highly dispersed state at pH<8 and pH>11, but in an aggregated state at pH 8–11. Photoluminescence measurements show that by changing the pH value, a reversible conversion of the highly dispersed state to the aggregated state (or vice versa) could be observed. Circular dichromism analysis confirmed that the secondary structure, as well as the majority of the tertiary structure, remains intact. Some lysozyme molecules were irreversibly bound to the nanotubes, which is possibly due to ππ or hydrophobic interactions. However, these interactions alone are not enough to produce fine dispersions of the nanotubes. Protonated amine interactions on the defect sites of the nanotubes play a vital role in the stabilization of the nanotubes below the isoelectric point and amine adsorption on the sidewalls of nanotubes occurs in cases where the pH value is higher than the isoelectric point.

Ancillary