Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes for Assembly

Authored by: Igor Vasiliev

Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075427
eBook ISBN: 9781420075434
Adobe ISBN:


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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are microscopic cylindrical structures obtained by “rolling up” two-dimensional graphene sheets. Depending on the number of concentric graphene layers, CNTs can be divided into single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). CNTs exhibit a variety of remarkable physical characteristics resulting from their small size and one-dimensional periodicity (Ajayan 1999; Rao et al. 2001; Bernholc et al. 2002). The unusual structural, electronic, and mechanical properties of CNTs make them attractive for a wide range of technological applications. Within the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology, a major research effort is dedicated to the use of CNTs as building blocks for nanopolymer, nano-organic, and organoceramic composite materials (Dai and Mau 2001; Dresselhaus et al. 2001). Among the key properties of CNTs are their ability to show semiconducting or metallic behavior depending on the structural parameters, remarkable tensile strength, high stability in air, and the ability to retain conductivity without chemical doping (Mureau et al. 2008; Naito et al. 2008). The unique characteristics of CNTs open the way for the development of a new class of electronic and engineering materials. CNTs can play a role of reinforcing agents in polymer and epoxy composites leading to the production of lightweight materials that possess superior mechanical strength, chemical stability, and high electric and thermal conductivity (Blake et al. 2004; Cadek et al. 2004; Byrne et al. 2008). Composite materials containing CNTs can also be used in nanoscale electronic devices such as single-electron transistors (Tans et al. 1998; Stokes and Khondaker 2008), molecular diodes (Wei et al. 2006), memory elements (Meunier et al. 2007), logic gates (Derycke et al. 2001), optoelectronics (Avouris et al. 2008), and chemical sensors (Sun and Sun 2008).

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