Hasan T., Scardaci V., Tan P. H., Rozhin A. G., Milne W. I., Ferrari A. C.
Improvement on the stability and loading of unfunctionalized single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in amide solvents is necessary to enhance the performances of SWNT-polymer composites used for optical applications (e.g., as non-linear saturable absorbers). We show that polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) can not only increase the stability of ultrasonically dispersed HiPco SWNTs in pure N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), but also improve the photoluminescence emission signals from SWNTs even after 1 month of incubation. Compared to two non-ionic surfactants (Igepal DM-970 and Pluronic F-98), we find that PVP-aided SWNT dispersions in NMP can improve the SWNT loading by at least four times. Unlike surfactant-aided dispersions, the PVP-aided dispersions remain completely stable by close visual inspection even after 6 months of incubation.