Current methods of synthesizing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) result in racemic mixtures that have impeded the study of left- and right-handed SWNTs. Here we present a method of isolating different SWNT enantiomers using density gradient ultracentrifugation. Enantiomer separation is enabled by the chiral surfactant sodium cholate, which discriminates between left- and right-handed SWNTs and thus induces subtle differences in their buoyant densities. This sorting strategy can be employed for simultaneous enrichment by handedness and roll-up vector of SWNTs having diameters ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 nm. In addition, circular dichroism of enantiomer refined samples enables identification of high-energy optical transitions in SWNTs.



Carbon nanotube separation handedness enantiomer optical activity chirality

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2009