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Quantification of Carbon Nanotube Liquid Crystal Morphology via Neutron Scattering



Francesca Mirri, Rana N. Ashkar, Vida Jamali, Lucy Liberman, Robert A. Pinnick, Paul van der Schoot, Yeshayahu Talmon, Paul Butler, Matteo Pasquali


Liquid phase assembly is among the most industrially attractive routes for scalable carbon nanotube (CNT) processing. Chlorosulfonic acid (CSA) was found to be an ideal solvent for CNTs, spontaneously dissolving them without compromising their properties. At typical processing concentrations, CNTs form liquid crystals in CSA; however, the type of of ordering and its concentration-dependence are not completely understood. Here, we use small angle neutron scattering, combined with polarized light microscopy and cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, to characterize CNT-CSA solution morphology at various concentrations for long and short CNTs. At the highest concentrations studied, and as theoretically predicted, the long CNTs form a fully nematic phase, while the short CNTs remain in biphasic regime. Upon dilution, long CNTs undergo a 2D lattice expansion, whereas short CNTs seem to have an intermediate expansion between 2D and 3D. Our data confirm the efficacy of CSA as a true solvent for CNTs.


Carbon nanotube, SWNT, SANS, TEM, nematic order


Mirri, F. , Ashkar, R. , Jamali, V. , Liberman, L. , Pinnick, R. , van der Schoot, P. , Talmon, Y. , Butler, P. and Pasquali, M. (2018), Quantification of Carbon Nanotube Liquid Crystal Morphology via Neutron Scattering, Macromolecules, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created September 10, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021