Nucleophilic−Alkylation−Reoxidation:  A Functionalization Sequence for Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes Academic Article uri icon


  • A new reaction sequence for the chemical functionalization of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) consisting of the nucleophilic addition of t-BuLi to the sidewalls of the tubes and the subsequent reoxidation of the intermediates t-Bu(n)SWNT(n-) leading to t-Bu(n)SWNT was developed. During the formation of the t-Bu(n)SWNT(n-), a homogeneous dispersion in benzene was formed due to the electrostatic repulsion of the negatively charged intermediates causing debundling. The entire reaction sequence can be repeated, and the degree of functionalization of the products (t-Bu(n))(m)SWNT (m = 1-3) increases with increasing m. Degrees of functionalization expressed as the carbon-to-addend ratio of up to 31 were reached. The reaction was studied in detail by photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The C 1s core level spectra reveal that the nucleophilic attack of the t-BuLi leads to negatively charged SWNTs. Upon oxidation, this negative charge is removed. The valence band spectra of the functionalized samples exhibit a significant reduction in the pi-derived density of states. In STM, the covalently bonded t-butyl groups attached to the sidewalls have been visualized. Raman spectroscopy reveals that addition of the nucleophile to metallic tubes is preferred over the addition to semiconducting tubes.


  • Graupner, Ralf
  • Abraham, Jürgen
  • Wunderlich, David
  • Vencelová, Andrea
  • Lauffer, Peter
  • Röhrl, Jonas
  • Hundhausen, Martin
  • Ley, Lothar
  • Hirsch, Andreas

publication date

  • May 2006