Catalyst-assisted silicon carbon nitride (SiCN) nanotubes and SiCN crystals are prepared. The SiCN nanotubes and SiCN crystals are formed by gaseous sources of CH4/N2/H2 and CH4/N2, respectively, and using solid Si columns arranged symmetrically around the specimen as additional Si sources. The formation of the tubular structure is related to the ambient of process that includes H2 gas, which is considered to delay the action of the so-called catalyst poisons and keep the tube end open during growth. Analysis shows that the SiCN crystals exhibit tetragonal or hexagonal shapes with sizes of about several microns, and multibonding structures. In contrast, the SiCN tubes are randomly orientated with various diameters, and graphitelike structure. The growth mechanisms of SiCN crystals and SiCN nanotubes are discussed. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.