Oxygen Doping Modifies Near-Infrared Band Gaps in Fluorescent Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  17 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6011, pp. 1656-1659
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196382

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Controlled chemical modifications of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that tune their useful properties have been sought for multiple applications. We found that beneficial optical changes in SWCNTs resulted from introducing low concentrations of oxygen atoms. Stable covalently oxygen-doped nanotubes were prepared by exposure to ozone and then light. Treated samples showed distinct, structure-specific near-infrared fluorescence at wavelengths 10 to 15% longer than displayed by pristine semiconducting SWCNTs. Dopant sites harvest light energy absorbed in undoped nanotube regions by trapping mobile excitons. The oxygen-doped SWCNTs are much easier to detect and image than pristine SWCNTs because they give stronger near-infrared emission and do not absorb at the shifted emission wavelength.

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