Journal of the American Chemical Society

Oxygen-containing functional groups on single-wall carbon nanotubes: NEXAFS and vibrational spectroscopic studies.

PMID 11674002


Single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) produced by plasma laser vaporization (PLV) and containing oxidized surface functional groups have been studied for the first time with NEXAFS. Comparisons are made to SWNTs made by catalytic synthesis over Fe particles in high-pressure CO, called HiPco material. The results indicate that the acid purification and cutting of single-walled nanotubes with either HNO3/H2SO4 or H2O2/H2SO4 mixtures produces the oxidized groups (O/C = 5.5-6.7%), which exhibit both pi*(CO) and sigma*(CO) C K-edge NEXAFS resonances. This indicates that both carbonyl (C=O) and ether C-O-C functionalities are present. Upon heating in a vacuum to 500-600 K, the pi*(CO) resonances are observed to decrease in intensity; on heating to 1073 K, the sigma*(CO) resonances disappear as the C-O-C functional groups are decomposed. Raman spectral measurements indicate that the basic tubular structure of the SWNTs is not perturbed by heating to 1073 K, based on the invariance of the ring breathing modes upon heating. The NEXAFS studies agree well with infrared studies which show that carboxylic acid groups are thermally destroyed first, followed by the more difficult destruction of ether and quinone groups. Single-walled nanotubes produced by the HiPco process, and not treated with oxidizing acids, exhibit an O/C ratio of 1.9% and do not exhibit either pi*(CO) or sigma*(CO) resonances at the detection limit of NEXAFS. It is shown that heating (to 1073 K) of the PLV-SWNTs containing the functional groups produces C K-edge NEXAFS spectra very similar to those seen for the HiPco material. The NEXAFS spectra are calibrated against spectra measured for a number of fused-ring aromatic hydrocarbon molecules containing various types of oxidized functional groups present on the oxidized SWNTs.

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