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Molecular design of strong single-wall carbon nanotube/polyelectrolyte multilayer composites

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 December 2002


The mechanical failure of hybrid materials made from polymers and single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) is primarily attributed to poor matrix–SWNT connectivity and severe phase segregation. Both problems can be successfully mitigated when the SWNT composite is made following the protocol of layer-by-layer assembly. This deposition technique prevents phase segregation of the polymer/SWNT binary system, and after subsequent crosslinking, the nanometre-scale uniform composite with SWNT loading as high as 50 wt% can be obtained. The free-standing SWNT/polyelectrolyte membranes delaminated from the substrate were found to be exceptionally strong with a tensile strength approaching that of hard ceramics. Because of the lightweight nature of SWNT composites, the prepared free-standing membranes can serve as components for a variety of long-lifetime devices.

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Figure 1: Structural characterization of SWNT multilayers.
Figure 2: Electron microscopy of the rupture region in SWNT multilayers.
Figure 3: Examination by TEM of the homogeneity of the SWNT LBL film.
Figure 4: Typical tensile strength curves of the SWNT LBL films.


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N.A.K. thanks the financial support of this project from National Science Foundation (NSF)-CAREER, NSF-Biophotonics, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and Nomadics. The authors are grateful to John Ostrander for polyelectrolyte film stretching, Phoebe Doss for assistance with TEM and SEM, and Zhandos Utegulov for carrying out the Raman scattering measurements. N.A.K. is indebted to Anatoli Kachurin (Sciperio, Stillwater, Oklahoma) for elemental analysis of the composites. The authors also thank Warren Ford (Oklahoma State University) for helpful discussions. Part of this work was carried out with support from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the US Department of Energy (NBRL 4410) and the European Union Human Potential Network, Chemical Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes (FUNCARS), Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca, Italy, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche programme Materiali Innovativi (legge 95/95).

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to N.A.K.

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Mamedov, A., Kotov, N., Prato, M. et al. Molecular design of strong single-wall carbon nanotube/polyelectrolyte multilayer composites. Nature Mater 1, 190–194 (2002).

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