Development of carbon nanotube-based gas and vapour sensors and supramolecular chemistry of carbon nano-materials

Lee Hubble

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    374 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The scientific endeavours described within this thesis attempt to create novel solutions to current scientific, commercial and industrial downfalls, and contribute to the advancement of technologies in these areas. This has been achieved through the application of theoretical and experimental principles, entrenched in the domains of chemistry and physics, which have been harnessed to assist in the transformation from nanoscience to nanotechnology. These solutions range from unique supramolecular systems capable of selective-diameter enrichment of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), to the fabrication of low-cost, potentially remote deployable carbon nanotube-based gas and vapour sensors, and expand right through to the development of water-soluble fluoroionophoric sensors and manipulations of a molecular form of carbon in constructing all-carbon nano-architectures. For the advancement and successful integration of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into commercial processes, the advent of scalable separation protocols based on their electronic properties is required. SWCNTs have been successfully solubilised using water-soluble p-phosphonated calix[n]arenes (n = 4, 6, 8) and 'extended arm' upper rim functionalised (benzyl, phenyl) p-sulfonated calix[8]arenes. Selective SWCNT diameter solubilisation has been demonstrated and subsequent preferential enrichment of SWCNTs with semiconducting or metallic electronic properties has been achieved. In addition, semiconducting nanotube-enriched supernatants (liquid) have been utilised to fabricate on/off field effect transistors (FET). These water-soluble supramolecular systems can be incorporated into post-growth purification protocols, with direct implications in areas such as carbon nano-electronics and device fabrication. In the current global environment there is a heightened level of public and governmental disquiet due to the reality of impending terrorist attacks. This is compounded by the inherent ease of manufacture and effectiveness of specific chemical warfare agents (CWAs) used in small-scale terrorist operations. ... Additional all-carbon structures are described with the formation of rings of helical SWCNT bundles through post-growth SWCNT modifications, and a variety of fibrous all-carbon structures, most notably novel square-geometry carbon nano-fibres (CNFs), through catalytic-chemical vapour deposition (C-CVD) synthesis strategies. The current requirement for entirely water-soluble fluorescent sensors is routinely documented in the literature. The autofluorescence properties of p-phenyl-sulfonated calix[8]arene are characterised and this water-soluble cavitand is surveyed as a metal cation sensor candidate. This particular system was found to exhibit a change in fluorescence response when exposed to divalent metal cations, and interactions with [UO2]2+, Pb2+, Co2+, and Cu2+ ions are discussed in detail. The system is characterised through a variety of analytical techniques to yield sensor calibration data, degradation characteristics, pH sensitivity and suitability as a 'small molecule' drug-carrier.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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