Mechanism of carbon nanotubes unzipping into graphene ribbons
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The fabrication of graphene nanoribbons from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) treated with potassium permanganate in a concentrated sulfuric acid solution has been reported by Kosynkin et al. [Nature (London) 458, 872 (2009)]. Here we report ab initio density functional theory calculations of such unzipping process. We find that the unzipping starts with the potassium permanganate attacking one of the internal C-C bonds of the CNT, stretching and breaking it. The created defect weakens neighboring bonds along the length of the CNT, making them energetically prone to be attacked too.
author list (cited authors)
Rangel, N. L., Sotelo, J. C., & Seminario, J. M.