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We report a new method of carbon nanotube growth by the argon ion beam irradiation of amorphous carbon under high vacuum conditions of 4×10-5 Torr. Earlier, carbon nanotubes have been produced at gas pressures above 100 Torr. The incident angle of the ion beam was normal to the target surface, and the acceleration ion energy was 3 keV. Nanotubes are produced outside the sputtering region on the target surface after ion irradiation. The tubes have multilayered walls, the distance between carbon layers is 0.34 nm, and wall thickness of tubes ranges from 10 to 15 sheets. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.