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Materials Research Institute



'Tailoring the optoelectronic properties of single walled carbon nanotubes for advanced applications' with Dr Antonio Setaro, Free University Berlin


Date: 9 October 2019   Time: 15:00 - 16:00

Our next speaker is Dr Antonio Setaro from the Free University Berlin. His research covers Material Characterization; Materials Thin Films and Nanotechnology; and Nanomaterials Synthesis.

Technological applications of single walled carbon nanotubes are thwarted by the big functionalization dilemma: Either one works in the noncovalent approach, which preserves the quantum optoelectronic features of the tubes but is intrinsically weak and can easily disassemble, or one covalently attaches the desired functionality, ensuring strong and stable attachment but disrupting the emission and transport quantum features of the tubes.

Here we show how to overcome these limitations, introducing a new covalent functionalization that even improves the optoelectronic features of the tubes. The flaw of standard covalent methods is the conversion of a fraction of the sp2 carbon atoms into sp3 ones, disrupting the extended pi-network. On the contrary, our method preserves and even regenerates the pi-conjugation: We show emission from covalently functionalized tubes, even at high degrees of functionalization, safeguarding the quantum features of the tubes. This breaks the dogma that covalent functionalization disrupts the quantum features of carbon nanotubes.

Moreover, by simple chemical substitution, we can add virtually any functionality onto the tubes. This gives an unprecedented degree of sophistication to the functionalization, fully integrating the added groups within the nanotubes structure and not only relying on weak non-covalent interactions. As an example, we show the result of incorporation of molecular switches, nanoplasmonic particles, and fluorescent molecules into a novel class of hybrids with advanced functionalities.

Location:  PP1 People's Palace, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London