Chemical Physics Letters, Vol.342, No.3-4, 265-271, 2001
Reversible water-solubilization of single-walled carbon nanotubes by polymer wrapping
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have been solubilized in water by non-covalently associating them with linear polymers, most successfully with polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and polystyrene sulfonate (PSS). This association is characterized by tight, uniform association of the polymers with the sides of the nanotubes. A general thermodynamic drive for this wrapping is discussed, wherein the polymer disrupts both the hydrophobic interface with water and the smooth tube-tube interactions in aggregates. The nanotubes can be unwrapped by changing the solvent system. This solubilization process opens the door to solution chemistry on pristine nanotubes, as well as their introduction into biologically relevant systems.