Industrial Single-Structure Separation of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes by Multicolumn Gel Chromatography

  • Huaping Liu
  • Takeshi Tanaka
  • Hiromichi Kataura


Single-structure single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with the same electronic types and band gaps are essential for their applications in the fields of electronics and optoelectronics. SWCNTs are usually grown in the mixture of various structures with diverse properties, hindering their practical application. To achieve single-structure SWCNTs, post-growth separation is an important route. Here we report a landmark separation method - multicolumn gel chromatography to separate single-structure SWCNTs (that is, single chirality) on a large scale. In this method, high-purity electronically different semiconducting SWCNTs can be well sorted across different columns by simply pouring excess amount of SWCNT-dispersion aqueous solution into a series of vertically connected gel columns. Metallic SWCNTs are collected as the unadsorbed species. With this technique, we successfully isolated 13 (n, m) single-chirality semiconducting species from HiPco-SWCNTs.


Carbon nanotubes Separation Single structure Multicolumn gel chromatography 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dresselhaus MS, Dresselhaus G, Avouris P (2001) Carbon Nanotubes Synthesis, Structure, Properties, and Applications. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kataura H et al (1999) Optical properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes. Synth Met 103: 2555–2558Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Avouris P, Martel R (2010) Progress in carbon nanotube electronics and photonics. MRS Bulletin 35: 306–313Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arnold MS, Green AA, Hulvat JF et al (2006) Sorting carbon nanotubes by electronic structure using density differentiation. Nat Nanotech 1: 60–65Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tu X, Manohr S, Jagota A et al (2009) DNA sequence motifs for structure specific recognition and separation of carbon nanotubes Nature 460: 250–253Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tanaka T, Jin H, Miyata Y et al (2009) Simple and scalable gel-based separation of metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Nano Lett 9: 1497– 1500Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tanaka T, Urabe Y, Nishide D et al (2009) Continuous separation of metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes using agarose gel. Appl Phys Exp 2: 125002Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Liu H, Feng Y, Tanaka T et al Diameter-selective metal/ semiconductor separation of single-wall carbon nanotubes by agarose gel. J. Phys. Chem. C 114: 9270–9276Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Moshammer K, Hennrich F, Kappes MM (2009) Selective suspension in aqueous sodium dodecyl sulfate according to electronic structure type allows simple separation of metallic from semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes. Nano Res 2: 599–606Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Liu H, Nishide D, Tanaka T et al (2011) Large-scale single-chirality separation of single-wall carbon nanotubes by simple gel chromatography. Nat Commun 2: 309Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nikolaev P, Bronikowski MJ, Bradley RK et al (1999) Gas-phase catalytic growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes from carbon monoxide. Chem Phys Lett 313: 91-97Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Li JQ, Jia GX, Zhang YF et al (2006) Bond-curvature effect of sidewall [2+1] cycloadditions of single-walled carbon nanotubes: a new criterion to the adduct structures. Chem Mater 18: 3579-3584Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huaping Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takeshi Tanaka
    • 1
  • Hiromichi Kataura
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Nanosystem Research InstituteNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)Tsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Japan Science and Technology Agency, CRESTKawaguchi, SaitamaJapan

Personalised recommendations