Encapsulation procedure of β-carotene in SWCNT (Source: AIST)
Organic materials have been expected to be applied to various areas such as electroluminescence (EL) displays. However, as they are more degradable than inorganic materials, improving their durability has been a big problem. For, example, various linear π-conjugated molecules, such as β–carotene, known as the coloring of carrots, have large third-order optical nonlinearity, and thus they have been expected to be one candidate for next-generation optical device materials. However, they have a problem which is light-degradation in air.
The AIST has found that β–carotene can be stabilized by encapsulation within SWCNTs. By the finding that large organic molecules like β–carotene (approximately 3 nm) can be encapsulated inside CNTs at a temperature of approximately 70°C, which is fairly close to room temperature, hereafter the utilization of CNTs as nano-containers for improving the durability of organic molecules may be expected.