Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Robert C. Haddon


Purification, chemistry and application are three very important aspects of current research on carbon nanotubes (CNTs). In the dissertation, the purification of nitric acid treated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), the dissolution and dichlorocarbene addition of SWNTs, and the effects of chemically functionalized CNTs on neuronal growth are discussed.The nitric acid treated SWNTs were purified by chemical treatment, cross-flow filtration, and centrifugation methods. The effects of nitric acid treatment on the SWNTs and the efficiency of different purification methods was evaluated by the measurement of purify of SWNTs via solution phase NIR. Nitric acid reflux followed with controlled pH centrifugation can produce SWNTs with high purity. This purification mechanism was explained by the relationship of the concentration of the acidic sites on SWNTs and the zeta potential of SWNTs.The dissolution of SWNTs was achieved via chemical functionalization of SWNTs with octadecylamine (ODA). Dichlorocarbene addition to the sidewall of both ODA functionalized and as-prepared SWNTs was investigated. ODA functionalized HiPco-SWNTs were found to have the highest functionality of dichlorocarbene. Vis-NIR spectra of the dichlorocarbene functionalized SWNTs showed a significant decrease in the interband transitions of the semiconducting SWNTs, which indicated that the chemical functionalization of the sidewall of SWNTs changes the electronic properties of SWNTs. Far-IR spectra of the dichlorocarbene functionalized SWNTs showed a dramatic decrease in the electronic transitions at the Fermi level of metallic SWNTs, which was opposite to the effect of ionic doping by bromine. This difference in the far-IR spectroscopy can be used to distinguish covalent chemical functionalization and ionic doping effects of SWNTs.Chemically functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) were applied as substrates for neuronal growth. By manipulating the charge carried by functionalized MWNTs we are able to control the outgrowth and branching pattern of neuronal processes. Chemically functionalized water soluble SWNTs graft copolymers were used in the modulation of outgrowth of neuronal processes. The graft copolymers were prepared by the functionalization of SWNTs with poly-m-aminobenzene sulphonic acid and poly-ethylene glycol. These functionalized water soluble SWNTs were able to increase the length of selected neuronal processes after their addition to the culturing medium.