Conductance-Controlled Point Functionalization of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  05 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5808, pp. 77-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135303

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We used covalent attachments to single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) to fabricate single-molecule electronic devices. The technique does not rely on submicrometer lithography or precision mechanical manipulation, but instead uses circuit conductance to monitor and control covalent attachment to an electrically connected SWNT. Discrete changes in the circuit conductance revealed chemical processes happening in real time and allowed the SWNT sidewalls to be deterministically broken, reformed, and conjugated to target species. By controlling the chemistry through electronically controlled electrochemical potentials, we were able to achieve single chemical attachments. We routinely functionalized pristine, defect-free SWNTs at one, two, or more sites and demonstrated three-terminal devices in which a single attachment controls the electronic response.

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