True solutions of single-walled carbon nanotubes for assembly into macroscopic materials. Academic Article uri icon


  • Translating the unique characteristics of individual single-walled carbon nanotubes into macroscopic materials such as fibres and sheets has been hindered by ineffective assembly. Fluid-phase assembly is particularly attractive, but the ability to dissolve nanotubes in solvents has eluded researchers for over a decade. Here, we show that single-walled nanotubes form true thermodynamic solutions in superacids, and report the full phase diagram, allowing the rational design of fluid-phase assembly processes. Single-walled nanotubes dissolve spontaneously in chlorosulphonic acid at weight concentrations of up to 0.5 wt%, 1,000 times higher than previously reported in other acids. At higher concentrations, they form liquid-crystal phases that can be readily processed into fibres and sheets of controlled morphology. These results lay the foundation for bottom-up assembly of nanotubes and nanorods into functional materials.

published proceedings

  • Nat Nanotechnol

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Davis, V. A., Parra-Vasquez, A., Green, M. J., Rai, P. K., Behabtu, N., Prieto, V., ... Pasquali, M.

citation count

  • 443

complete list of authors

  • Davis, Virginia A||Parra-Vasquez, A Nicholas G||Green, Micah J||Rai, Pradeep K||Behabtu, Natnael||Prieto, Valentin||Booker, Richard D||Schmidt, Judith||Kesselman, Ellina||Zhou, Wei||Fan, Hua||Adams, W Wade||Hauge, Robert H||Fischer, John E||Cohen, Yachin||Talmon, Yeshayahu||Smalley, Richard E||Pasquali, Matteo

publication date

  • December 2009