Deterministic sythesis and site specific functionalization of single walled carbon nanotubes and their application on the synthesis of functional materials

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Discovery Grants Program - Individual
  • Year: 2010/11
  • Total Funding: $25,005
Keywords
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Project Summary

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) are an attractive material for a host of fundamental and applied studies, and their chemical functionalization has become an area of great interest for applications such as the fabrication of novel composite materials and chemical sensors. The mechanisms of functionalization are an active field of research and the current literature on this topic is abundant. However, current methodology lacks control over the attachment site of the chemical functionality and, therefore, specific chemical attachment schemes required for functional devices employing SWNT have not been achieved. Additional complexity of SWNT-based devices can only be achieved by modification of the valuable strategies already reported, such that SWNT can be functionalized in a site-specific manner along the SWNT length or tip. This in turn will limit reactions and interactions to either one of those regions only and not both. The proposed research will develop a novel approach to such site-specific functionalization that combines catalyst-assisted chemical vapor deposition (CVD) for synthesis of aligned SWNT forests over flat substrates, and the use of coating techniques to limit the functionalization of unprotected exposed regions of the aligned SWNT forests. The nanotube arrays will be directly functionalized after a protective layer has been deposited and etched along the array. Additionally, the CVD approach will allow tailoring of the nanotube diameters, and even chirality, by controlling the experimental parameters for synthesis such as feedstock composition, temperature, and catalyst composition. The final product obtained will be an extremely well designed SWNT material in which diameter, chirality, and site of the chemical functionality are well defined. In a fundamental sense, this approach will allow an enhancement of the current understanding of SWNT covalent functionalization, while in a practical sense, optimized derivatization procedures of a broad scope will be of value in the preparation of a wide range of SWNT hybrid materials. Funds requested will support 4MSC students and 3 PhD students to conduct an integrated design and experimental research program.