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Title: Flow Cytometry-Based Evaluation and Enrichment of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Dispersions
Authors: TIWARI, MD
Issue Date: 2012
Citation: LANGMUIR, 28(11)4939-4947
Abstract: The uniform aqueous dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is a vital but challenging task required for their utilization in most technologies. We propose and demonstrate a technique based on forward- and side-scatter analysis on a flow cytometer to characterize the components in a dispersion of multiwalled CNTs (MWCNTs). The method simultaneously distinguishes various MWCNT components such as short and long CNTs, nanotube bundles, and particulates. It also detects the emergence of new CNT populations as a result of centrifugation. We use this method, together with classical methods such as UV and Raman spectroscopy, to observe and study the multistep MWCNT dispersion process in various surfactants (Pluronic, Triton X-100, sodium dodecyl sulfate, and cetyl trimethylammonium bromide). On the basis of the distinct scatter patterns obtained, we confirm and elaborate the surfactant-assisted unzipping mechanism of MWCNT dispersion. We also show that the ultrasonic energy spent after MWCNT unbundling and unwinding can be minimized and the process optimized for each surfactant by correct end point detection through scatter analysis. The ability to enrich nanotube population in dispersion by using the sorting mode of a flow cytometer is confirmed by electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. This method can thus be used for observing and enriching MWCNT components and as a complementary technique to UV spectroscopy for studying and optimizing MWCNT dispersion in surfactants.
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