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Want cleaner, fresher looking nanotubes for that important experiment? No more clumping or flyways when you use ammonium laurate, which contains a compound common in shampoo, says a graduate student in the University of Maryland's Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Researcher Hanna Nilsson substituted ammonium laurate for SDS, right now the industry standard for keeping the long thin strands of nanotubes separate so that they can be studied individually or piled together neatly.

"The benefit of cleaner nanotube deposition is that their native properties can be used in applications," Nilsson said. "One example we show in the paper is that nanotubes deposited with AL have better electrical contact with metal than those deposited with SDS."

The problem with SDS is that it leaves behind a soapy residue. Nilsson’s tests with ammonium laurate show that this molecule has a structure that doesn't reform once the solution has been deposited and can instead be washed away with water.

SDS is also in grocery stores too – it’s found in toothpaste, shaving cream and bubble bath.


Ammonium laurate surfactant for cleaner deposition of carbon nanotubes

Nilsson et al, Langmuir, Just Accepted Manuscript

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b01175

Publication Date (Web): May 28, 2015



June 15, 2015


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