Research into Soluble Carbon Nanotubes Supported by Malvern Zetasizer Nano

New research from the University of Padova in Italy shows how the Zetasizer Nano S, a nanomaterial and molecular characterization system from Malvern Panalytical, is supporting the development of soluble carbon nanotubes (CNTs).

Malvern Panalytical’ Zetasizer Nano S is supporting research at the University of Padova to develop soluble carbon nanotubes (CNTs)

CNTs exhibit unique electronic, optical, mechanical and structural properties and are emerging as potentially important for a number of industrial applications including organic photovoltaic cells. One of the benefits of using soluble CNTs is that they are amenable to solution-based, low-cost, commercial manufacturing methods. The Zetasizer Nano is proving to be an easy-to-use tool for tracking and optimizing the functionalization reactions used to induce solubility.

For full details of the study please refer to the recently published paper “Chemistry of Carbon Nanotubes in Flow” via

The focus of research at the university is the development of optimized continuous flow reaction systems for CNT functionalization. This approach has the potential to enable functionalized CNT manufacture with shorter reaction times and under relatively benign conditions, low temperature and pressure, thereby reducing the cost of production. A range of analytical methods is used to assess the extent and result of functionalization, under different reaction conditions.

Measurements of hydrodynamic diameter, made using the Zetasizer Nano S, have proved especially helpful because the hydrodynamic diameter of the functionalized CNTs has been shown to correlate directly with the extent of CNT functionalization and solubility. Measurements of hydrodynamic diameter therefore provide an indication of the success or otherwise of the reaction. As a result they are a fast and efficient way of tracking the functionalization reactions being studied, supporting the development of optimized reaction conditions.

The Zetasizer Nano S is a dynamic light scattering system for the measurement of particle size in dispersions, across the range 0.3 nm to 10 µm. It also provides molecular size and molecular weight measurements.

To find out more about the Zetasizer Nano series visit

About Malvern Panalytical

Malvern Panalytical provides the materials and biophysical characterization technology and expertise that enables scientists and engineers to understand and control the properties of dispersed systems. These systems range from proteins and polymers in solution, particle and nanoparticle suspensions and emulsions, through to sprays and aerosols, industrial bulk powders and high concentration slurries. Used at all stages of research, development and manufacturing, Malvern Panalytical’s materials characterization instruments provide critical information that helps accelerate research and product development, enhance and maintain product quality and optimize process efficiency.

Our products reflect Malvern Panalytical’s drive to exploit the latest technological innovations and our commitment to maximizing the potential of established techniques. They are used by both industry and academia, in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals to bulk chemicals, cement, plastics and polymers, energy and the environment.

Malvern Panalytical systems are used to measure particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, protein charge, molecular weight, mass, size and conformation, nanoparticle size and count, rheological properties and for chemical identification, advancing the understanding of dispersed systems across many different industries and applications.

Headquartered in Malvern Panalytical, UK, Malvern Panalytical has subsidiary organizations in all major European markets, North America, Mexico, China, Japan and Korea, a joint venture in India, a global distributor network and applications laboratories around the world.


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