Table of Contents
Journal of Nanoscience
Volume 2014, Article ID 328627, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/328627
Research Article

Quantifying the Aggregation Factor in Carbon Nanotube Dispersions by Absorption Spectroscopy

1IMEC, Kapeldreef 75, B3001 Leuven, Belgium
2Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, KU Leuven, B3001 Leuven, Belgium
3Department of Physics, KU Leuven, B3001 Leuven, Belgium
4Department of Electrical Engineering, KU Leuven, B3001 Leuven, Belgium

Received 16 December 2013; Revised 15 March 2014; Accepted 1 April 2014; Published 29 April 2014

Academic Editor: Ana Benito

Copyright © 2014 Hari Pathangi et al. 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.

Abstract

Absorption spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible-near infrared (UV-Vis-NIR) wavelength region has been used to quantify the aggregation factor of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) in liquid media through a series of controlled experiments. SWCNT bundles are dispersed in selected solvents using a calibrated ultrasonicator, which helps in determining the true amount of energy used in the exfoliation process. We also establish the selectivity of the centrifugation process, under the conditions used, in removing the nanotube aggregates as a function of the sonication time and the dispersion solvent. This study, along with the calibration of the sonication process, is shown to be very important for measuring the true aggregation factor of SWCNTs through a modified approach. We also show that the systematic characterization of SWCNT dispersions by optical spectroscopy significantly contributes to the success of dielectrophoresis (DEP) of nanotubes at predefined on-chip positions. The presence of individually dispersed SWCNTs in the dispersions is substantiated by dielectrophoretic assembly and post-DEP electromechanical measurements.