An efficient technique to fabricate metal-oxide/carbon composite nanotubes has been developed through a self-assembly processing that includes implantation of acidic groups and interaction between surface oxides and metal ions or hydration molecules. To functionalize carbon nanotubes, gaseous oxidation at 300 °C was firstly employed to build functional oxygen groups including carboxyl, carbonyl and hydroxyl group, on the ends or sidewalls of the nanotubes. It revealed that the oxidized nanotubes express a slight improvement of surface hydrophilicity, which was demonstrated by contact angle measurement. X-ray photoelectron spectroscope investigation indicated that the ratio of attached metal-oxide onto the oxidized nanotubes gradually increases with oxidation level, i.e., surface O/C atomic ratio. This evidence reflected that the surface oxides act as an adsorption center that strongly interacts with metal ions or hydration molecules in aqueous phase. Applying this method, SnO2, RuO2, NiO and PtRu nanoparticles having an average size of 5 nm were assembled on the oxidized carbon nanotubes.

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