Interactions and chemical transformations of coronene inside and outside carbon nanotubes

Bea Botka, Melinda E. Füstös, Hajnalka M. Tõháti, Katalin Németh, Gyöngyi Klupp, Zsolt Szekrényes, Dorina Kocsis, Margita Utczás, Edit Székely, Tamás Váczi, György Tarczay, Rudi Hackl, Thomas W. Chamberlain, Andrei N. Khlobystov, Katalin Kamarás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


By exposing flat and curved carbon surfaces to coronene, a variety of van der Waals hybrid heterostructures are prepared, including coronene encapsulated in carbon nanotubes, and coronene and dicoronylene adsorbed on nanotubes or graphite via π-π interactions. The structure of the final product is determined by the temperature of the experiment and the curvature of the carbon surface. While at temperatures below and close to the sublimation point of coronene, nanotubes with suitable diameters are filled with single coronene molecules, at higher temperatures additional dimerization and oligomerization of coronene occurs on the surface of carbon nanotubes. The fact that dicoronylene and possible higher oligomers are formed at lower temperatures than expected for vapor-phase polymerization indicates the active role of the carbon surface used primarily as template. Removal of adsorbed species from the nanotube surface is of utmost importance for reliable characterization of encapsulated molecules: it is demonstrated that the green fluorescence attributed previously to encapsulated coronene is instead caused by dicoronylene adsorbed on the surface which can be solubilized and removed using surfactants. After removing most of the adsorbed layer, a combination of Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy was employed to follow the transformation dynamics of coronene molecules inside nanotubes. Gas phase insertion of coronene in nanotubes yields various forms of adsorbed or encapsulated coronene or dicoronylene, while nano-extraction from supercritical carbon dioxide leads to stacks of intact coronene inside nanotubes, with no dicoronylene and no surface adsorbed molecules. The mechanism of transformation of aromatic guest-molecules to internal nanotubes via nanoribbon-like structures is followed by spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1378
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2014


  • carbon nanotubes
  • coronene
  • encapsulation
  • graphene nanoribbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Botka, B., Füstös, M. E., Tõháti, H. M., Németh, K., Klupp, G., Szekrényes, Z., Kocsis, D., Utczás, M., Székely, E., Váczi, T., Tarczay, G., Hackl, R., Chamberlain, T. W., Khlobystov, A. N., & Kamarás, K. (2014). Interactions and chemical transformations of coronene inside and outside carbon nanotubes. Small, 10(7), 1369-1378.