Selective and Reversible Noncovalent Functionalization of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes by a pH-Responsive Vinylogous Tetrathiafulvalene–Fluorene Copolymer
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A vinylogous tetrathiafulvalene (TTFV) monomer was prepared and copolymerized with fluorene to give a conformationally switchable conjugated copolymer. This copolymer was shown to undergo a conformational change upon protonation with trifluoroacetic acid (TFA). When mixed with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), this TTFV-fluorene copolymer exhibited strong interactions with the SWNT surface, leading to stable, concentrated nanotube dispersions in toluene. Photoluminescence excitation mapping indicated that the copolymer selectively disperses low-diameter SWNTs, as would be expected from its ability to form a tightly coiled conformation on the nanotube surface. Addition of TFA to the copolymer-SWNT dispersion resulted in a rapid conformational change and desorption of the polymer from the SWNT surface, resulting in precipitation of pure SWNTs that were completely free of polymer. Importantly, the nanotubes isolated after dispersion and release by the TTFV-fluorene copolymer were more pure than the original SWNTs that were initially dispersed.
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