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Self-Assembled CNT-Polymer Hybrids in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Dispersed Aqueous Triblock Copolymer Solutions


We have carried out scanning electron microscopy (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), electrical conductivity, and 1H NMR studies as a function of temperature on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) dispersed aqueous triblock copolymer (P123) solutions. The single-walled carbon nanotubes in this system aggregate to form bundles, and the bundles aggregate to form net-like structures. Depending on the temperature and phases of the polymer, this system exhibits three different self-assembled CNT-polymer hybrids. We find CNT-unimer hybrid at low temperatures, CNT-micelle hybrid at intermediate temperatures wherein the polymer micelles are adsorbed in the pores of the CNT nets, and another type of CNT-micelle hybrid at high temperatures wherein the polymer micelles are adsorbed on the surface of the CNT bundles. Our DSC thermogram showed two peaks related to these structural changes in the CNT-polymer hybrids. Temperature dependence of the 1H NMR chemical shifts of the molecular groups of the polymer and the AC electrical conductivity of the composite also showed discontinuous changes at the temperatures at which the CNT-polymer hybrid’s structural changes are seen. Interestingly, for a higher CNT concentration (0.5 wt.%) in the system, the aggregated polymer micelles adsorbed on the CNTs exhibit cone-like and cube-like morphologies at the intermediate and at high temperatures respectively.

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The authors would like to thank K.N. Vasudha for DSC measurements and A. Dhason for SEM images. The authors (ASM and CGP) thank the Raman Research Institute for the VSP fellowship.

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Vijayaraghavan, D., Manjunatha, A.S. & Poojitha, C.G. Self-Assembled CNT-Polymer Hybrids in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Dispersed Aqueous Triblock Copolymer Solutions. Braz J Phys 48, 130–136 (2018).

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  • Carbon nanotube
  • Cnt-poymer hybrid
  • SEM
  • 1H NMR
  • Self-assembly
  • Electrical conductivity