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Summary form only given, as follows. Summary form only given. We present experimental results on the spatially resolved analysis of carbon-based plasmas for the growth of multiwall carbon nanotubes. First, we compare the 3-D spatially resolved intensity of a pure argon plasma discharge to that of a typical carbon-hydrogen-argon plasma used for nanostructure growth. We then present an analysis of the species present in the carbon-based plasma, identified by a wavelength scan of the plasma from 300-900 nm, to begin to develop an understanding of the possible plasma and growth chemistries. Next, we present 3-D spatially resolved optical intensity profiles versus pressure for the C-C moiety, as this carbon unit is thought to be significant for nanotube growth. The spatial emission of carbon was observed by looking at the 516.5 nm band head of the C2 Swan band. Finally, we present an analysis of the hydrogen rotational temperature versus pressure and temperature versus power. Our measurements indicated gas temperature conditions of about 440-540 K (167-267 /spl deg/C).