Topics in Current Chemistry

, 375:13 | Cite as

Sorting Carbon Nanotubes

  • Ming Zheng
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes: Preparation, Property and Application


Sorting of single-wall carbon nanotubes by their electronic and atomic structures in liquid phases is reviewed in this chapter. We first introduce the sorting problem, and then provide an overview of several sorting methodologies, following roughly the chronological order of their development over the past 15 years or so. Major methods discussed include ion-exchange chromatography, density-gradient ultracentrifugation, selective extraction in organic solvents, gel chromatography, and aqueous two-phase extraction. A main focus of the review is on the common mechanisms underlining all sorting processes. We propose that differences in solvation among different nanotube species are the ultimate driving force of sorting, and we corroborate this proposal by presenting analysis on how the differences are realized in electronic-structure-based sorting and atomic-structure-based sorting. In the end, we offer some suggestions on future directions that may grow out of carbon nanotube sorting. In particular, the prospect of expanding the function of DNA/carbon nanotube hybrid to control inter-particle interactions both inside and outside the nanotube is discussed.


Chirality DNA Separation Single-wall carbon nanotubes Solvation energy 



The author would like to express his gratitude to many of his colleagues and associates at DuPont CR&D, NIST and other institutions for their collaboration on the CNT sorting research. They are Anand Jagota, Bruce Diner, Xueying Huang, Scott Mclean, Ellen Semke, Xiaomin Tu, Constantine Khripin, Jeffrey Fagan, Angela Hight-Walker, Geyou Ao, Jason Streit, Hui Gui, and Chongwu Zhou. Critical reading of the manuscript by Geyou Ao, Jeffrey Fagan, and Jason Streit is also greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA)  2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Science and Engineering DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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