Effect of the electronic structure of carbon nanotubes on the selectivity of electrochemical functionalization
The functionalization of carbon nanotubes through electrochemical routes is gaining importance due to the high degree of control achievable and the ability to render the tubes with a variety of chemical and biological species. In this article, we report systematic investigations on the grafting of phenyl groups through diazonium coupling onto individual metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes both experimentally and theoretically. The results show clearly that by optimizing the electrochemical conditions it is possible to obtain a high degree of selectivity for the coupling of phenyl radicals onto metallic nanotubes. The outlined conclusions have strong implications for the design of strategies for the controlled functionalization of individual single-wall carbon nanotubes.