Large-scale separation of single-walled carbon nanotubes by electronic type using click chemistry

Jo Eun Um, Sun Gu Song, Pil J. Yoo, Changsik Song, Woo Jae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) can be either metallic or semiconducting, making their separation critical for applications in nanoelectronics, biomedical materials, and solar cells. Herein, we investigate a novel solution-phase separation method based on click chemistry (azide-alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition) and determine its efficiency and scalability. In this method, metallic SWCNTs in metallic/semiconducting SWCNT mixtures are selectively functionalized with alkyne groups by being reacted with 4-propargyloxybenezenediazonium tetrafluoroborate. Subsequently, silica nanoparticles are functionalized with azide groups and reacted with alkyne-bearing metallic SWCNTs in the SWCNT mixture in the presence of a Cu catalyst. As a result, metallic SWCNTs are anchored on silica powder, whereas non-functionalized semiconducting SWCNTs remain in solution. Low-speed centrifugation effectively removes the silica powder with attached metallic SWCNTs, furnishing a solution of highly pure semiconducting SWCNTs, as confirmed by Raman and UV-vis/near-infrared absorption measurements. This novel separation scheme exhibits the advantage of simultaneously separating both metallic and semiconducting SWCNTs from their mixtures, being cost-effective and therefore applicable at an industrial scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Click chemistry
  • Copper catalyst
  • SWCNT separation
  • m-SWCNT
  • sc-SWCNT
  • ​1,3-dipolar cycloaddition


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