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Crystals 2015, 5(1), 74-90;

Dispersability of Carbon Nanotubes in Biopolymer-Based Fluids

Department of Chemistry, La Sapienza University, Cannizzaro Building, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Daniele Gozzi
Received: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 16 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures)
PDF [378 KB, uploaded 16 January 2015]


In this review the dispersability of carbon nanotubes in aqueous solutions containing proteins, or nucleic acids, is discussed. Data reported previously are complemented by unpublished ones. In the mentioned nanotube-based systems several different phases are observed, depending on the type and concentration of biopolymer, as well as the amount of dispersed nanotubes. The phase behavior depends on how much biopolymers are adsorbing, and, naturally, on the molecular details of the adsorbents. Proper modulation of nanotube/biopolymer interactions helps switching between repulsive and attractive regimes. Dispersion or phase separation take place, respectively, and the formation of liquid crystalline phases or gels may prevail with respect to dispersions. We report on systems containing ss-DNA- and lysozyme-stabilized nanotubes, representative of different organization modes. In the former case, ss-DNA rolls around CNTs and ensures complete coverage. Conversely, proteins randomly and non-cooperatively adsorb onto nanotubes. The two functionalization mechanisms are significantly different. A fine-tuning of temperature, added polymer, pH, and/or ionic strength conditions induces the formation of a given supra-molecular organization mode. The biopolymer physico-chemical properties are relevant to induce the formation of different phases made of carbon nanotubes. View Full-Text
Keywords: single-walled carbon nanotubes; biopolymers; phase separation; liquid crystals; gels; dispersions; repulsive/attractive interactions single-walled carbon nanotubes; biopolymers; phase separation; liquid crystals; gels; dispersions; repulsive/attractive interactions

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tardani, F.; Mesa, C.L. Dispersability of Carbon Nanotubes in Biopolymer-Based Fluids. Crystals 2015, 5, 74-90.

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