Advanced Functional Materials, Vol.14, No.12, 1147-1151, 2004
Hierarchical self-assembly of peptide-coated carbon nanotubes
Numerous applications, from molecular electronics to super-strong composites, have been suggested for carbon nanotubes. Despite this promise, difficulty in assembling raw carbon nanotubes into functional structures is a deterrent for applications. In contrast, biological materials have evolved to self-assemble, and the lessons of their self-assembly can be applied to synthetic materials such as carbon nanotubes. Here we show that single-walled carbon nanotubes, coated with a designed amphiphilic peptide, can be assembled into ordered hierarchical structures. This novel methodology offers a new route for controlling the physical properties of nanotube systems at all length scales from the nano- to the macroscale. Moreover, this technique is not limited to assembling carbon nanotubes, and could be modified to serve as a general procedure for controllably assembling other nanostructures into functional materials.