Chemical vapor deposition synthesis of near-zigzag single-walled carbon nanotubes with stable tube-catalyst interface

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Science Advances  13 May 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 5, e1501729
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501729


Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth is regarded as the most promising method for realizing structure-specific single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) growth. In the past 20 years, many efforts dedicated to chirality-selective SWNT growth using various strategies have been reported. However, normal CVD growth under constant conditions could not fully optimize the chirality because the randomly formed cap structure allows the nucleation of all types of SWNTs and the chirality of an SWNT is unlikely to be changed during the following elongation process. We report a new CVD process that allows temperature to be periodically changed to vary SWNT chirality multiple times during elongation to build up the energetically preferred SWNT-catalyst interface. With this strategy, SWNTs with small helix angles (less than 10°), which are predicted to have lower interfacial formation energy than others, are enriched up to ~72%. Kinetic analysis of the process suggests a multiple redistribution feature whereby a large chiral angle SWNT tends to reach the near-zigzag chirality step by step with a small chiral angle change at each step, and hence, we named this method “tandem plate CVD.” This method opens a door to synthesizing chirality-selective SWNTs by rational catalyst design.

  • Zigzag single-walled carbon nanotubes
  • tube-catalyst interface
  • “tandem-plate” chemical vapor deposition
  • thermodynamics preference

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