Elliptically polarized light-scattering measurements were performed to investigate the dispersion behavior of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT). Xylene- and pyridine-derived MWNT powders were dispersed in water and ethanol in separate optic cells and allowed to sit undisturbed over a two-week time period after probe sonication. Continuous light-scattering measurements taken between scattering angles of and repeated over several days showed that the nanotubes formed fractal-like networks. The pyridine-derived MWNTs showed greater dispersion variation over time, tending to aggregate and clump much faster than the xylene-derived tubes. The water suspensions appeared much more stable than the ethanol suspensions, which transformed into nonfractal morphology after a few hours. We relate the dispersion stability to size and fringe patterns on the outer surface of the nanotubes. Measured values of fractal dimension were distinctly lower than those in previous studies of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Profiles of both diagonal and off-diagonal scattering matrix elements are presented.
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