Encapsulated inorganic nanostructures: A route to sizable modulated, noncovalent, on-tube potentials in carbon nanotubes

Adelina Ilie, James S Bendall, Katsumi Nagaoka, Stefan Egger, Tomonobu Nakayama, Simon Crampin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


The large variety of hybrid carbon nanotube systems synthesized to date (e.g., by encapsulation, wrapping, or stacking) has provided a body of interactions wit h which to modify the host nanotubes to produce new functionalities and control their behavior. Each, however, has limitations: hybridization can strongly degrade desirable nanotube properties; noncovalent interactions with molecular systems are generally,weak; and interlayer interactions in layered nanotubes are strongly dependent upon the precise stacking sequence. Here we show that the electrostatic/polarization interaction provides a generic route to designing unprecedented, sizable-and highly modulated (1 eV range), noncovalent on-tube potentials via encapsulation of inorganic, partially ionic phases where charge anisotropy is maximized. Focusing on silver iodide (Agl) nanowires inside single-walled carbon nanotubes, we exploit the polymorphism of Agl, which creates a variety of different charge distributions and, consequently, Interactions of varying strength and symmetry. Combined ab initio calculations, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy are used to demonstrate symmetry breaking of the nanotube wave functions and novel, electronic superstructure formation, which we then correlate with the modulated, noncovalent electrostatic/polarization potentials from the Agl filling. These on tube potentials are markedly stronger than those due to other noncovalent interactions known In carbon nanotube systems and lead to significant redistribution of the wave function around the nanotube, with implications for conceptually new single-nanotube electronic devices and molecular assembly. Principles derived can translate more broadly to relating graphene systems, for designing/controlling potentials and superstructures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2559-2569
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Early online date3 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2011


  • symmetry breaking
  • electronic superstructure
  • electrostatic/polarization interaction
  • density functional calculations
  • scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy
  • carbon nanotube hybrids
  • Agl@SWCNT


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