Editors : H. Riel, W. Lee, M. Zacharias, M. McAlpine, T. Mayer , H. Fan, M. Knez, S. Wong
a1 [email protected], Los ALamos National Lab, CINT, Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
a2 [email protected], Los Alamos National Lab, Chemistry, 87544, New Mexico, United States
a3 [email protected], Los ALamos National Lab, CINT, Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
a4 [email protected], Los ALamos National Lab, CINT, Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
Here we report a general route to prepare silica nanocomposite gels doped with fluorescent single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT). We show that tetramethylorthosilicate (TMOS) vapors can be used to gel an aqueous suspension of surfactant-wrapped SWNT while maintaining fluorescence from the semiconducting nanotubes. The vapor phase silica process is performed at room temperature and is simple, reproducible, relatively quick, and requires no dilution of SWNT dispersions. However, exposure of aqueous SWNT suspensions to TMOS vapors resulted in an acidification of the suspension prior to gelation that caused a decrease in the emission signal from sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) wrapped SWNT. We also show that although the SWNT are encapsulated in silica the emission signal from the encapsulated SWNT may be attenuated by exposing the nanocomposites to small aromatic molecules known to mitigate SWNT emission. These results demonstrate a new route for the preparation of highly luminescent SWNT/silica composite materials that are potentially useful for future sensing applications.
(Received March 25 2010)
(Accepted June 23 2010)