Published on Thursday May 1, 2008
Professor Christopher Li is the recipient of a $300K three-year grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research. The grant is entitled "Carbon Nanotube Induced Polymer Crystallization, Structure and Morphology."
Professor Li and his lab recently discovered that polymer single crystals could grow on carbon nanotubes (CNT) in a controllable manner. Since polymers can be easily end-functionalized, this discovery immediately leads to a unique CNT functionalization technique which is different from all existing methods. The hybrid structure generated, called nano hybrid shish kebabs (NHSK), possesses much higher specific surface area compared to that of pristine CNTs. This could facilitate using CNTs in sensor and catalysis support applications. The crystalline nature of the kebabs also enables a more efficient mechanical load transfer, which could directly lead to stronger composite materials.