Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) possess unique physical, optical, and electrical properties with great potential for future nanoscale device applications. Common synthesis procedures yield SWNTs with large length polydispersity and varying chirality. Electrical and optical applications of SWNTs often require specific lengths, but the preparation of SWNTs with the desired length is still challenging. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) integrated into a microfluidic device has the potential to separate SWNTs by length. Semiconducting SWNTs of varying length suspended with sodium deoxycholate (NaDOC) show unique dielectrophoretic properties at low frequencies (<1 kHz) that were exploited here using an iDEP-based microfluidic constriction sorter device for length-based sorting. Specific migration directions in the constriction sorter were induced for long SWNTs (≥1000 nm) with negative dielectrophoretic properties compared to short (≤300 nm) SWNTs with positive dielectrophoretic properties. We report continuous fractionation conditions for length-based iDEP migration of SWNTs, and we characterize the dynamics of migration of SWNTs in the microdevice using a finite element model. Based on the length and dielectrophoretic characteristics, sorting efficiencies for long and short SWNTs recovered from separate channels of the constriction sorter amounted to >90% and were in excellent agreement with a numerical model for the sorting process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry