Fullerene-driven encapsulation of a luminescent Eu(III) complex in carbon nanotubes

L. Maggini, M.-E. Fuestoes, T. W. Chamberlain, C. Cebrian, M. Natali, M. Pietraszkiewicz, O. Pietraszkiewicz, E. Szekely, K. Kamaras, L. De Cola, A. N. Khlobystov, D. Bonifazi,
Nanoscale 2014, 6, 2887-2894
DOI: 10.1039/c3nr05876j


A novel CNT-based hybrid luminescent material was obtained via encapsulation of a C60-based Eu(III) complex into single-, double- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs, DWCNTs and MWCNTs, respectively). Specifically, a luminescent negatively charged Eu(III) complex, electrostatically bonded to an imidazolium-functionalized fullerene cage, was transported inside CNTs by exploiting the affinity of fullerenes for the inner surface of these carbonaceous containers. The filling was performed under supercritical CO2 (scCO2) conditions to facilitate the entrapment of the ion-paired assembly. Accurate elemental, spectroscopic and morphological characterization not only demonstrated the efficiency of the filling strategy, but also the occurrence of nano-ordering of the encapsulated supramolecular luminophores when SWCNTs were employed.

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