Controlling the shape, orientation, and linkage of carbon nanotube features with nano affinity templates

Yuhuang Wang, Daniel Maspoch, Shengli Zou, George C. Schatz, Richard E. Smalley, Chad A. Mirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

201 Citations (Scopus)


Directed assembly of nanoscale building blocks such as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) into desired architectures is a major hurdle for a broad range of basic research and technological applications (e.g., electronic devices and sensors). Here we demonstrate a parallel assembly process that allows one to simultaneously position, shape, and link SWNTs with sub-100-nm resolution. Our method is based on the observation that SWNTs are strongly attracted to COOH-terminated self-assembled monolayers (COOH-SAMs) and that SWNTs with lengths greater than the dimensions of a COOH-SAM feature will align along the boundary between the COOH-SAM feature and a passivating CH3- terminated SAM. By using nanopatterned affinity templates of 16-mercaptohexadecanonic acid, passivated with 1-octadecanethiol, we have formed SWNT dot, ring, arc, letter, and even more sophisticated structured thin films and continuous ropes. Experiment and theory (Monte Carlo simulations) suggest that the COOH-SAMs localize the solvent carrying the nanotubes on the SAM features, and that van der Waals interactions between the tubes and the COOH-rich feature drive the assembly process. A mathematical relationship describing the geometrically weighted interactions between SWNTs and the two different SAMs required to overcome solvent-SWNT interactions and effect assembly is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2026-2031
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 14 2006


  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Rings
  • Self-assembly
  • Structured thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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