Switchable conductance in functionalized carbon nanotubes via reversible sidewall bond cleavage

Elise Y. Li, Nicolas Poilvert, Nicola Marzari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We propose several covalent functionalizations for carbon nanotubes that display switchable on/off conductance in metallic tubes. The switching action is achieved by reversible control of bond-cleavage chemistry in [1 + 2] cycloadditions via the sp3 ⇌ sp2 rehybridization that it induces; this leads to remarkable changes of conductance even at very low degrees of functionalization. Reversible bond-cleavage chemistry is achieved by identifying addends that provide optimal compensation between the bond-preserving through-space π orbital interactions with the tube against the bond-breaking strain energy of the cyclopropane moiety. Several strategies for real-time control, based on redox or hydrolysis reactions, cis-trans isomerization or excited-state proton transfer are proposed. Such designer functional groups would allow for the first time direct control of the electrical properties of metallic carbon nanotubes, with extensive applications in nanoscale devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4455-4465
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 28
Externally publishedYes


  • first-principles calculations
  • functionalized carbon nanotubes
  • quantum conductance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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