Physical adsorption of block copolymers to SWNT and MWNT: A nonwrapping mechanism

Einat Nativ-Roth, Rina Shvartzman-Cohen, Céline Bounioux, Marc Florent, Zhang Dongsheng, Igal Szleifer, Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


A detailed study of the interaction mechanism between carbon nanotubes and physically adsorbed block copolymers is presented. The combination of experimental observations, computer simulations and theory suggests that while the solvophobic blocks adsorb to the nanotubes by a nonwrapping mechanism, the dangling (solvophilic) blocks provide a steric barrier that leads to the formation of stable dispersions of individual single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) above a threshold concentration of the polymer. The observed threshold concentration depends on the length of the solvophobic blocks, and it is higher for MWNT as compared to SWNT. Theory suggests that the latter is a consequence of dimensional considerations. Spectroscopic characterization of the dispersions indicate that the dispersing block polymers do not alter the electronic structure of the well dispersed individual SWNT, supporting the model of nonspecific adsorption of the polymer to the tube driven by van der walls type interactions. The study presented here offers a generic scheme for optimization of the structure and composition of block copolymers used for dispersion of CNT in different media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3676-3685
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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