Tuning the optical properties of carbon nanotube solutions using amphiphilic self-assembly

Michael S. Arnold*, Samuel Stupp, Mark Hersam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recently it has been shown that aqueous solutions of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) encapsulated and polymer wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) fluoresce in the near infrared (NIR)1 in the regime of the E11 van Hove transitions for semiconducting SWNTs. For bundled SWNTs, fluorescence is observed to be quenched along with a shift and broadening of the absorbance spectrum. Here, we study two other commercially available surfactants, BRIJ-97 and Triton-X-100, by analysis of carbon nanotube fluorescence and absorptivity in the NIR. It is found that changing the surfactant alters the corresponding optical properties of the solubilized carbon nanotubes. The NIR absorbance spectra of BRIJ-97 and Triton-X-100 carbon nanotube solutions are also compared with the absorbance spectrum of NaCl destabilized SDS-SWNT solutions. By controlling the amount of NaCl added to an aqueous solution of SDS-SWNTs, the optical absorbance spectrum can be made to match that of BRIJ-97 and Triton-X-100 solutions. Lastly, a correlation is drawn between the amount of shift in the absorbance spectrum and the fluorescence intensity, independent of surfactant used. This shift and decrease in fluorescence intensity may be due to carbon nanotube bundling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Sep 29 2003
EventQuantum Sensing: Evolution and Revolution from Past to Future - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 27 2003Jan 30 2003


  • BRIJ-97
  • Buckytube
  • Bundle
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Fluorescence
  • Optical absorption
  • Photoluminescence
  • SDS
  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate
  • Surfactant
  • Triton-X-100

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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