5_05b/2009Switchable surfactants: Small 5/2009

Enzymatically activated carbon-nanotube (CNT) surfactants based on simple aromatic peptide derivatives that create homogeneous aqueous CNT dispersions on-demand and under constant and physiological conditions are investigated. These switchable, versatile, and low-cost CNT surfactants provide a step forward for applications where a dynamic interface between biological systems and carbon nanomaterials is required. The image shows amino acid derivatives interacting with a CNT surface by π-stacking while simultaneously providing a negatively charged surface to assist in the dispersion of CNTs. A protease enzyme is shown, which activates these surfactants on-demand from inactive precursors. For more information, please read the Communication “Enzyme-Activated Surfactants for Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes” by I. H. Hillier, I. A. Kinloch, R. V. Ulijn, et al., beginning on page 587.

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