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Ultrasonication-induced extraction of inner shells from double-wall carbon nanotubes characterized via in situ spectroscopy after density gradient ultracentrifugation

Authors
  • Erkens, Maksiem
  • Cambré, Sofie
  • Flahaut, Emmanuel
  • Fossard, Frédéric
  • Loiseau, Annick
  • Wenseleers, Wim
Publication Date
Nov 15, 2021
Source
Open Archive Toulouse Archive Ouverte
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

Even though ultrasonication is considered to be an effective method to disperse carbon nanotubes (CNTs), its devastating effects on the nanotubes are often neglected. Here, even mild ultrasonication is found to rapidly extract the inner single-wall CNTs (SWCNTs) from the outer shells of the double-wall CNTs (DWCNTs). As-synthesized DWCNTs are gently solubilized in a surfactant solution, strictly avoiding any ultrasonication, followed by two consecutive density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGU) steps to obtain a purified colloidal solution of isolated DWCNTs. The latter is carefully selected based on in situ resonant Raman (RRS) and fluorescence (PL) spectroscopy, measured as a function of depth directly in the ultracentrifuge tube after DGU. These purified DWCNTs are ultrasonicated in successive time steps while intermittently probing the sample via RRS and PL spectroscopy. These results unravel the very fast increasing, yet saturating extraction mechanism that leads to the formation of fluorescing SWCNTs. A statistical high-resolution transmission electron microscopy study confirms the drastic increase in SWCNTs after ultrasonication, and evidences that ultrasonication forms SWCNTs from both the inner and outer shells of the DWCNTs. This study demonstrates how easily ultrasonication extracts SWCNTs from individually solubilized DWCNTs, unavoidably complicating any further spectroscopic studies on DWCNTs severely.

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