Switchable Conductance in Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes via Reversible Sidewall Bond Cleavage
We propose several covalent functionalizations for carbon nanotubes that display switchable on/off conductance in metallic tubes. The switching action is achieved by reversible control of bond-cleavage chemistry in [1 + 2] cycloadditions via the sp(3) reversible arrow sp(2) rehybridization that it Induces; this leads to remarkable changes of conductance even at very low degrees of functionalization. Reversible bond-cleavage chemistry is achieved by Identifying addends that provide optimal compensation between the bond-preserving through-space pi orbital interactions with the tube against the bond-breaking strain energy of the cyclopropane moiety. Several strategies for real-time control, based on redox or hydrolysis reactions, cis-trans isomerization or excited-state proton transfer are proposed. Such designer functional groups would allow for the first time direct control of the electrical properties of metallic carbon nanotubes, with extensive applications in nanoscale devices.