Cresol-Carbon Nanotube Charge-Transfer Complex: Stability in Common Solvents and Implications for Solution Processing

Kevin Chiou, Jiaxing Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The charge-transfer complex between cresol molecules and carbon nanotubes is confirmed by 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance, Raman, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic studies. The stability of the cresol-nanotube complex in common solvents is determined by their dielectric constants. In solvents with high dielectric constants (>15), this non-covalent interaction is screened and the complex is destabilized, resulting in nanotube aggregation. In solvents with low dielectric constant (<10), the complex remains stable and the nanotubes are well dispersed. Therefore, using cresols as a minority cosolvent, surfactant-free dispersion of unfunctionalized single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes in common industrial solvents can be achieved. This cosolvent strategy makes it possible to customize nanotube formulations in volatile industrial solvents for high-throughput solution-processing techniques, such as airbrushing. On the other hand, since high-dielectric-constant solvents, such as acetone, can destabilize the cresol-nanotube complex, they can be used for the benefit of removing any residual cresols without heating, resulting in clean carbon nanotube films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-319
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Langmuir-Blodgett films
  • MAP5: Improvement
  • airbrushing
  • carbon nanotubes
  • charge-transfer complex
  • coating
  • cresols
  • shear mixing
  • solution processing
  • surfactant free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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