Controlling polyelectrolyte adsorption onto carbon nanotubes by tuning ion-image interactions.
Understanding and controlling polyelectrolyte adsorption onto carbon nanotubes is a fundamen- tal challenge in nanotechology. Polyelectrolytes have been shown to stabilise nanotube suspensions through adsorbing onto the nanotube surface, and polyelectrolyte-coated nanotubes are emerging as building blocks for complex and addressable self-assembly. The conventional wisdom suggests that polyelectrolyte adsorption onto nanotubes is driven by specific chemical or van der Waals interac- tions. We develop a simple mean-field model and show that ion-image attraction is a significant effect for adsorption onto conducting nanotubes at low salt concentrations. Our theory suggests a simple strategy to selectively and reversibly functionalize carbon nanotubes based on their electronic structure which in turn modifies the ion-image attraction.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.05635
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