Nanocomposites of Vertically Aligned Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes by Magnetic Alignment and Polymerization of a Lyotropic Precursor

We demonstrate a novel path for the fabrication of thin-film polymer nanocomposites containing vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Liquid crystal mesophases of hexagonally packed cylindrical micelles orient with their long axes parallel to an applied magnetic field and template the alignment of SWNTs sequestered in the micellar cores. The mesophase is a stable single-phase material containing monomers that can be polymerized after nanotube alignment to form the nanocomposite polymer. The space-pervasive nature of magnetic fields and the tunable physicochemical properties of multicomponent mesophases make this an attractive approach that can be leveraged for application in diverse nanocomposite systems.