Synergistic Effects in the Gas Sensitivity of Polypyrrole/Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Composites
Ammonia adsorption on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) was studied by means of infrared spectroscopy at both cryogenic (approximately 94 K) and room (approximately 300 K) temperatures. At 94 K, vacuum-annealed SWNTs showed no detectable ammonia uptake. However, the ammonia adsorption was found to be sensitive to the functionalities and defects on the nanotube surfaces. NH3 adsorption was detected on HNO3-treated nanotubes, characterized by significant functionalities and defects, prior to vacuum annealing. NH3 desorbed from those nanotubes above 140 K, indicating a weak adsorbate-nanotube interaction (approximately 30 kJ/mol). Exposure of annealed samples to ambient air, which possibly regenerated functionalities and defects on nanotube surfaces, restored partially the ammonia uptake capacity. No ammonia adsorption on SWNTs was observed by infrared spectroscopy at room temperature with up to 80 Torr dosing pressure. This work suggests the influence of functionalities and/or defect densities on the sensitivity of SWNT chemical gas sensors. Our theoretical studies on NH3 adsorption on pristine and defective tubes, as well as oxidized tubes, corroborate these findings.