Controlling the shape, orientation, and linkage of carbon nanotube features with nano affinity templates

Yuhuang Wang, Daniel Maspoch, Shengli Zou, George C. Schatz*, Richard E. Smalley, Chad A. Mirkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


Directed assembly of nanoscale building blocks such as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) into desired architectures is a major hurdle for a broad range of basic research and technological applications (e.g., electronic devices and sensors). Here we demonstrate a parallel assembly process that allows one to simultaneously position, shape, and link SWNTs with sub-100-nm resolution. Our method is based on the observation that SWNTs are strongly attracted to COOH-terminated self-assembled monolayers (COOH-SAMs) and that SWNTs with lengths greater than the dimensions of a COOH-SAM feature will align along the boundary between the COOH-SAM feature and a passivating CH3- terminated SAM. By using nanopatterned affinity templates of 16-mercaptohexadecanonic acid, passivated with 1-octadecanethiol, we have formed SWNT dot, ring, arc, letter, and even more sophisticated structured thin films and continuous ropes. Experiment and theory (Monte Carlo simulations) suggest that the COOH-SAMs localize the solvent carrying the nanotubes on the SAM features, and that van der Waals interactions between the tubes and the COOH-rich feature drive the assembly process. A mathematical relationship describing the geometrically weighted interactions between SWNTs and the two different SAMs required to overcome solvent-SWNT interactions and effect assembly is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2026-2031
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 14 2006


  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Rings
  • Self-assembly
  • Structured thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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