Modifying the Electronic Properties of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes using Designed Surfactant Peptides


The electronic properties of carbon nanotubes can be altered significantly by modifying the nanotube surface. In this study, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were functionalized noncovalently using designed surfactant peptides, and the resultant SWCNT electronic properties were investigated. These peptides have a common amino acid sequence of X(Valine) 5(Lysine) 2, where X indicates an aromatic amino acid containing either an electron-donating or electron-withdrawing functional group (i.e. p-amino-phenylalanine or p-cyano-phenylalanine). Circular dichroism spectra showed that the surfactant peptides primarily have random coil structures in an aqueous medium, both alone and in the presence of SWCNTs, simplifying analysis of the peptide/SWCNT interaction. The ability of the surfactant peptides to disperse individual SWCNTs in solution was verified using atomic force microscopy and ultraviolet-visible-near-infrared spectroscopy. The electronic properties of the surfactant peptide/SWCNT composites were examined using the observed nanotube Raman tangential band shifts and the observed additional features near the Fermi level in the scanning tunneling spectroscopy dI/dV spectra. The results revealed that SWCNTs functionalized with surfactant peptides containing electron-donor or electron-acceptor functional groups showed n-doped or p-doped altered electronic properties, respectively. This work unveils a facile and versatile approach to modify the intrinsic electronic properties of SWCNTs using a simple peptide structure, which is easily adaptable to obtain peptide/SWCNT composites for the design of tunable nanoscale electronic devices.



Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Materials science, Nanotubes, Carbon, Circular dichroism, Peptides


©2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry Not to be further made available or distributed.