Stabilization of photo-functional organic molecules within carbon nanotubes

(Nanowerk News) The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan has succeeded in the suppression of light-degradation of a photo-functional organic molecule, β–carotene, by encapsulating it in single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT).
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.
Source: AIST