C<sub>60</sub>@MWCNT: Room Temperature Encapsulation of C<sub>60</sub> into Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes
C60@MWCNT: Room Temperature Encapsulation of C60 into Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon letters. 2010. Mar, 11(1): 9-12
Copyright ©2010, Korean Carbon Society
  • Received : December 28, 2009
  • Accepted : March 10, 2010
  • Published : March 30, 2010
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About the Authors
Vinay Gupta
Om P. Bahl
Rakesh B. Mathur

The synthesis of C 60 @MWCNT was carried out at room temperature (~25 o C) from arc-discharge prepared Multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). They were oxidized and acid treated for tube opening. Then C 60 molecules were encapsulated into MWCNTs by wetting them with C 60 -toluene solution for several minutes followed by ultrasonification. C 60 @MWCNT was cleaned by pure toluene to remove any excess C 60 . C 60 @MWCNT was characterized by electron microscopy, which showed large scale filling of C 60 into MWCNTs. It was observed that the mechanism of insertion of C 60 into MWCNTs may be due to the capillary suction at the opening ends of MWCNTs.
1. Introduction
Fullerene encapsulation into single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) has generated considerable interest in recent years after the discovery of C 60 @SWCNTs [1] because inserting fullerenes into the inner space of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is found to bring significant changes to their electronic states, charge transport, and one-dimensional (1D) quantum characteristics [2 - 4] . Scanning tunneling spectroscopy studies have shown that fullerenes or metallo-fullerenes encapsulated in semiconducting SWCNT significantly modify their electronic structures due to a significant change in their band structure and affect phenomena such as even-odd effect, shell-filling in two spin-degenerate electronic states, and Kondo effect [4 - 6] . Recently, a single wall carbon nanotube based nanocontainer is designed for hydrogen storage, in which a C 60 ‘‘peapod’’ at the cap section of the nanotube serves as a molecular valve [7] .
Fullerene encapsulation was reported mainly with SWCNTs. We first studied the filling of MWCNT with C 60 [8] , where encapsulation of C 60 into MWCNT was performed by vapor phase at 650 o C at the pressure of 200 μPa. Such a high vacuum was must as we could not find any C 60 into MWCNTs at low vacuum. However, filling at a high vacuum is time consuming and needs special equipment to obtain desirable vacuum and it is not available at many conventional laboratories. Therefore, in this work,room temperature (~25 o C) liquid phase encapsulation of C 60 inside MWCNTs is presented. High-resolution TEM images clearly showed large scale filling of C 60 into MWCNTs with high yield.
2. Experimental
High quality multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were obtained from Chemapol Industries Bombay (India). MWCNTs are synthesis under helium atmosphere (~700 mbar) in the arcdischarge apparatus, which consists of a two-wall system [9] . The outer area of the inner wall is equipped with cooling pipes for efficient cooling of SWCNTs soot. The cathode consists of ultra pure graphite rod (15 mm diameter, 15 mm length). The anode consists of ultra pure graphite rod of outer diameter 6 mm (10 cm long). A current of 60 A was passed between anode and cathode to produce arc-discharge plasma. The distance between anode and cathode was kept constant at 2 mm and voltage of 30 V was maintained during the consumption of anode and subsequent production of SWCNTs. The duration of this process was kept 120 seconds.After the arc-discharge experiment, MWCNTs were extracted from the cathode deposit. The preparation of the C 60 is similar to MWCNT except that the helium pressure is kept at ~20 mbar.
All the samples were characterize by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). SEM was carried out on a Philips (FEI XL30 LaB6, 30 kV) equipped with EDAX detector. HRTEM, FFT and selected-area electron diffraction measurements and EDX elemental analysis were carried out on a Philips Tecnai 20 S-TWIN (200 kV) field emission HRTEM equipped with a post specimen aberration corrector. The diameter of a C 60 is ~0.7 nm [10] , whereas the internal diameter of a MWCNT was in the range of 5~10 nm as ascertained by TEM images.
Lager Image
(a) SEM image of MWCNTs and (b). TEM image of a MWCNT after acid treatment.
3. Results and Discussion
Fig.1(a) shows scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of MWCNTs. The opening of the nanotubes was performed in a three step process. Initially the nanotubes were oxidized in air at 700 o C for 10 minutes. The heating and cooling rates were rate were 20 o C/min [11] . Tube opening by oxidation in air results in an only very small amount of open nanotube(~4%). In the second step, 65% nitric acid was added and the mixture was refluxed for 4.5 h at 125 o C after which MWCNTs were washed with distilled water several times until the pH is close to 7 [12] . In the final step the nanotubes were oxidized again at a temperature of 600 o C in air for 10 minutes onto a silicon wafer to remove any traces of acids, after which it was cooled down to room temperature at 20 o C/min. The silicon wafer was used because it provides a smooth surface and has a very high meting point. TEM images showed an average of 30% uncapped nanotube ends. Fig.1(b) shows transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of an uncapped MWCNT. The C 60 -toluene solution was prepared by adding commercial C 60 (99.9% purity) to toluene in 1 mg ml-1 ratio. Fig. 2 depicts the experimental set up for the synthesis of C 60 @MWCNT [13] . C 60 -toluene was added on to the MWCNTs drop-wise so that the entire sample is covered. After the solution is dried-up, the process
Lager Image
Schematic depiction of the filling process.
Lager Image
(a) Formation process of C60@MWCNT (scale 5 nm) and (b) Negative image of Fig. 3(a).
was again repeated several times. Afterward, the sample was transferred to C 60 -toluene solution and sonicated for 1 hour.Finally, the obtained sample was sonicated in toluene for 1 hour to remove excess C 60 and then air dried. Further drying was done at 150°C for 2 h in a moderate argon flow.
Fig. 3(a) , (b) depicts the process of filling of C 60 into MWCNT. It has been shown theoretically and experimentally that the procedure adopted in Fig. 2 results in the filling of carbon nanotube through the combined action of capillary forces and evaporation [13 , 14] . Fig. 3(a) , (b) suggests that the filling of C 60 into MWCNTs is most likely due to the same mechanism. Fig. 3(b) shows the negative image of the Fig. 3(a) to clearly identify the extent and location of C 60 (which are bright spots).
Fig. 4(a) ~ (c) shows TEM images of C 60 @MWCNT, where C 60 completely fills the MWCNTs. The diameter of a C 60 molecule is 0.7 nm and graphitic van der Waals separation is 0.3 nm [10] . The arrangement of C 60 molecules in a MWCNT depends upon its diameter. Generally, there are two kinds of arrangements. If the inner diameter of a nanotube is only a few times larger than the diameter of C 60 ,it tend to form zigzag chains which were also reported for C 60 in BN nanotubes [15] . For larger diameters, C 60 consists of irregularly arranged clusters. In the present case, due to a large inner diameter of MWCNTs, C 60 clusters are irregularly arranged [16] . Fig. 4(a) shows a deformed MWCNT, where, in the smaller diameter region C 60
Lager Image
High resolution TEM images of C60@MWCNT showing fully packed C60 into MWCNTs.
Lager Image
Low resolution TEM images showing the yield of C60@MWCNT.
molecules are irregularly arranged and for larger diameter region, the TEM image becomes fuzzy due to the continuous movement of C 60 clusters. In addition, the fullerenes possibly begin to coalesce under the intense electron beam irradiation [1] . For the diameter of C 60 molecule of 0.7 nm and graphitic van der Waals separation of 0.3 nm, a 5 nm(inner diameter) MWCNT can accommodate around five C 60 molecule in a plane but π×(diameter/2) 2 along the cross section, the TEM images ( Fig. 4 ) show a large number of densely packed C 60 clusters overlapping each other because TEM picture is only a two-dimensional projection. One can observe that C 60 molecules also tend to form zigzag chains [17 , 18] and this zigzag arrangement can freely rotate around the long tube axis. Fig. 4(a) shows a low resolution TEM image where a large number of C 60 @MWCNT is shown. In conclusion, the present method can provide scope for a large scale filling of MWCNTs.
V.G. thanks director NPL and Humboldt foundation for support.
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