Indexed on: 04 May '06Published on: 04 May '06Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society
We present a systematic experimental investigation of the reactions between hydrogen plasma and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) at various temperatures. Microscopy, infrared (IR) and Raman spectroscopy, and electrical transport measurements are carried out to investigate the properties of SWNTs after hydrogenation. Structural deformations, drastically reduced electrical conductance, and an increased semiconducting nature of SWNTs upon sidewall hydrogenation are observed. These changes are reversible upon thermal annealing at 500 degrees C via dehydrogenation. Harsh plasma or high temperature reactions lead to etching of nanotubes likely via hydrocarbonation. Smaller SWNTs are markedly less stable against hydrocarbonation than larger tubes. The results are fundamental and may have implications to basic and practical applications including hydrogen storage, sensing, band gap engineering for novel electronics, and new methods of manipulation, functionalization, and etching of nanotubes.