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Measuring Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Length Distributions from Diffusional Trajectories



Jason Streit, Sergei M. Bachilo, Anton V. Naumov, Constantine Y. Khripin, Ming Zheng, R B. Weisman


A new method is demonstrated for measuring the length distributions of dispersed single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) samples by analyzing diffusional motions of many individual nanotubes in parallel. In this method, termed Length Analysis by Nanotube Diffusion (LAND), video sequences of near-IR fluorescence microscope images showing many semiconducting SWCNTs are recorded and processed by custom image analysis software. This processing locates the individual nanotubes, tracks their translational trajectories, computes the corresponding diffusion coefficients, and converts those values to nanotube lengths. The deduced length values are then compiled into a histogram of lengths present in the sample. By using specific excitation wavelengths and emission filters, this analysis is performed on selected (n,m) structural species. The new LAND method has been found to give distributions in very good agreement with those obtained by conventional AFM analysis of the same samples. Because it is fluorescence-based, LAND monitors only semiconducting, relatively pristine SWCNTs. It is less sensitive to artifacts from impurities and bundled nanotubes than AFM or light scattering methods. In addition, samples can be analyzed with less time and operator attention than by AFM. LAND is a promising alternative method for characterizing length distributions of SWCNTs in liquid suspension.
ACS Nano


carbon nanotubes, diffusion of rods, length measurement, IR fluorescence


Streit, J. , Bachilo, S. , Naumov, A. , Khripin, C. , Zheng, M. and Weisman, R. (2012), Measuring Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Length Distributions from Diffusional Trajectories, ACS Nano, [online],, (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created August 26, 2012, Updated October 12, 2021