Carbon Nanotube Analysis and Characterisation

Chemical Analysis and Certification of Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes

Intertek offers a comprehensive suite of analysis services to assess the structure and purity of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). These comprehensive analytical services help manufacturers to optimise the structure and purity of their product, and customers to verify the quality of the nanotubes they are purchasing. 

Carbon nanotube quality varies enormously depending on production conditions, so nanotube manufacturers need reliable data on structure and quality to optimise production and to certify their product.  Equally, downstream users need to be sure of the quality of the SWNTS that they are incorporating into their own products. Intertek scientists have the chemical analysis tools and over 20 years of analytical research experience to help nanotube producers and users. A complementary set of analytical techniques are required to analyse carbon nanotubes, the information from each techniques helps build a comprehensive picture of the structure and quality of the nanotube samples.

SWNTs are very thin tubes of elemental carbon with exceptional mechanical, optical and electrical properties. Their potential to revolutionise the performance of a wide range of materials has been recognised for over a decade, and recent advances in manufacturing processes mean that SWNTs are finally becoming available in sufficient quantity for industrial-scale evaluation and application. 

Carbon Nanotube Analysis and Characterisation Services: 

No single technique can adequately characterise a nanotube product, so Intertek uses a diverse set of complementary techniques to verify the key structural and quality parameters. These include: 

  • Relative amounts of nanotubes, graphite/soot and inorganic impurities
  • Assessment of the dispersion of SWNTs into products
  • Semi-quantitative elemental analysis 
  • Determination of residual catalysts and inorganic impurity particles 
  • Assessment of total carbon content, purity and homogeneity
  • Carbon nanotube quality (G/D ratio)
  • Determination of metallic vs semiconducting tube ratio 
  • Speciation of semiconducting and metallic tubes and homogeneity
  • Bulk quantitative elemental analysis
  • Assessment of tube lengths and diameters
  • Determination of electronic structure (sp2/sp3-carbon ratio) 
  • Quantification of surface chemical modification
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