Quantification and removal of carbonaceous impurities in a surfactant-assisted carbon nanotube dispersion and its implication on electronic properties

Minsuk Park, In Seung Choi, Sang Yong Ju

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonaceous impurities (CIs) affect the optoelectronic properties as well as the ability to use absorption spectroscopy to estimate the metallic content of a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) dispersion. Therefore, a method for the accurate quantification and removal of CIs is required. We have devised methods to characterize and quantify CIs present in SWNT batches and to determine the effects of CIs on the optical and electrical properties of SWNT. Quantitative determination of CIs stems from the finding that chloroform selectively disperses CIs present in SWNT batches. CIs separated by dispersing the as-purchased SWNT batch in chloroform have the morphology of defective and agglomerated few-layered graphenes, whose sizes and locations depend on SWNT batches. Moreover, CIs exhibit a featureless UV-vis-mid-wavelength IR (MWIR) absorption curve and an extinction coefficient comparable to graphenes and show difference with carbon black, which is frequently used as the CI reference. The MWIR region that shows least absorptions caused by the transition of various SWNT types was utilized to assess the significant contribution made by CIs present in a surfactant-assisted SWNT dispersion, showing about 12-19 wt% of CIs in various SWNT dispersions. In addition, the extraction of CIs with chloroform results in a highly purified SWNT batch without any diameter distribution change originating from oxidative damage as compared to the commercially available purified SWNT batch. Finally, we found that increasing the weight of CIs present in a SWNT dispersion strongly lowers the thermal conductivity of a SWNT film when compared with the electrical conductivity. This study provides a way to understand the negative effects that CI has on the optoelectronic properties of SWNTs as well as the beneficial effects of excluding ubiquitous CIs in SWNTs batches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3537-3548
Number of pages12
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 11

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 RSC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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