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Reis, Wieland G.; Tomovic, Zeljko; Weitz, R. Thomas; Krupke, Ralph; Mikhael, Jules (2017): Wide dynamic range enrichment method of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes with weak field centrifugation. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 44812
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Abstract

The potential of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to outperform silicon in electronic application was finally enabled through selective separation of semiconducting nanotubes from the as-synthesized statistical mix with polymeric dispersants. Such separation methods provide typically high semiconducting purity samples with narrow diameter distribution, i.e. almost single chiralities. But for a wide range of applications high purity mixtures of small and large diameters are sufficient or even required. Here we proof that weak field centrifugation is a diameter independent method for enrichment of semiconducting nanotubes. We show that the non-selective and strong adsorption of polyarylether dispersants on nanostructured carbon surfaces enables simple separation of diverse raw materials with different SWCNT diameter. In addition and for the first time, we demonstrate that increased temperature enables higher purity separation. Furthermore we show that the mode of action behind this electronic enrichment is strongly connected to both colloidal stability and protonation. By giving simple access to electronically sorted SWCNTs of any diameter, the wide dynamic range of weak field centrifugation can provide economical relevance to SWCNTs.