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  • 1.
    Abreu, Barbara
    et al.
    Univ Porto, Fac Sci, Dept Chem & Biochem, CIQUP, Rua Campo Alegre, P-4169007 Porto, Portugal..
    Rocha, Jessica
    Univ Porto, Fac Sci, Dept Chem & Biochem, CIQUP, Rua Campo Alegre, P-4169007 Porto, Portugal..
    Ferreira Fernandes, Ricardo Manuel
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Chemistry, Applied Physical Chemistry.
    Regev, Oren
    Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Dept Chem Engn, IL-84105 Beer Sheva, Israel.;Ben Gurion Univ Negev, Ilse Katz Inst Nanotechnol, IL-84105 Beer Sheva, Israel..
    Furo, Istvan
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Chemistry, Applied Physical Chemistry.
    Marques, Eduardo F.
    Univ Porto, Fac Sci, Dept Chem & Biochem, CIQUP, Rua Campo Alegre, P-4169007 Porto, Portugal..
    Gemini surfactants as efficient dispersants of multiwalled carbon nanotubes: Interplay of molecular parameters on nanotube dispersibility and debundling2019In: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, ISSN 0021-9797, E-ISSN 1095-7103, Vol. 547, p. 69-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Surfactants have been widely employed to debundle, disperse and stabilize carbon nanotubes in aqueous solvents. Yet, a thorough understanding of the dispersing mechanisms at molecular level is still warranted. Herein, we investigated the influence of the molecular structure of gemini surfactants on the dispersibility of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). We used dicationic n-s-n gemini surfactants, varying n and s, the number of alkyl tail and alkyl spacer carbons, respectively; for comparisons, single-tailed surfactant homologues were also studied. Detailed curves of dispersed MWNT concentration vs. surfactant concentration were obtained through a stringently controlled experimental procedure, allowing for molecular insight. The gemini are found to be much more efficient dispersants than their single-tailed homologues, i.e. lower surfactant concentration is needed to attain the maximum dispersed MWNT concentration. In general, the spacer length has a comparatively higher influence on the dispersing efficiency than the tail length. Further, scanning electron microscopy imaging shows a sizeable degree of MWNT debundling by the gemini surfactants in the obtained dispersions. Our observations also point to an adsorption process that does not entail the formation of micelle-like aggregates on the nanotube surface, but rather coverage by individual molecules, among which the ones that seem to be able to adapt best to the nanotube surface provide the highest efficiency. These studies are relevant for the rational design and choice of optimal dispersants for carbon nanomaterials and other similarly water-insoluble materials.

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