First success in real time observation of process of solubilization of CNT by polymer

Feb 26, 2013

NIMS researchers have succeeded for the first time in the world in real-time analysis of the "polymer wrapping" process by which polymers (polymers of molecules) wrap around single-walled carbon nanotubes, which are a next-generation material.

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are a promising new material, which are expected to find diverse applications in the fields of soft electronics suing organic materials, , fuel cells, etc. and the environment-friendly green life sciences. However, the fact that CNT are extremely difficult to dissolve in water and had been an obstacle to both basic research and practical applications. Much research has been done on polymer wrapping, in which CNT are enclosed in and dissolved by polymers, as an effective solution to this problem. However, it had not been possible to observe in real time the mechanism by which polymers wrap around CNT and, as a result, how the CNT are solubilized.

This research was carried out using the "stopped-flow method," which is one technique for analyzing instantaneous dynamic structural changes in biomolecules such as proteins, DNA, etc. As a result, the team succeeded for the first time in the world in analysis of the dynamic polymer wrapping behavior of CNT.

Although CNT had been difficult to dissolve in solvents, these research results not only clarified the mechanism of polymer wrapping, which had long remained unexplained, but also provide a key technology for mass production and practical application by enabling solubilization of CNT by polymer wrapping. These results are expected to contribute to efficient production, for example, by development of new solubilizing agents.

These results were published in the online bulletin of the American scientific journal, , on January 17, 2013 (Japan time).

Explore further: Heat-responsive polymers that do not breakdown in water may lead to new antifouling coatings and enhanced oil recovery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Carbon nanotube composites for enzymes and cosmetics

Sep 06, 2011

Japanese researchers have developed a low cost and efficient method for producing electrically conducting composites based on electrostatic adsorption of CNTs onto resin and ceramic particles for applications ...

Recommended for you

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

8 hours ago

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process—think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into ...

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

10 hours ago

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing ...

Bullet 'fingerprints' to help solve crimes

10 hours ago

Criminals don't just have to worry about their own fingerprints these days: because of a young forensic scientist at The University of Western Australia, they should also be very concerned about their bullets' ...

User comments : 0