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The role of the catalytic particle in the growth of carbon nanotubes by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition

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5 Author(s)
Ducati, C. ; Department of Material Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, United Kingdom ; Alexandrou, I. ; Chhowalla, M. ; Robertson, J.
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Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes were synthesized by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition using nickel as a metal catalyst. High resolution transmission electron microscopy analysis of the particle found at the tip of the tubes reveals the presence of a metastable carbide Ni3C. Since the carbide is found to decompose upon annealing at 600 °C, we suggest that Ni3C is formed after the growth is stopped due to the rapid cooling of the Ni-C interstitial solid solution. A detailed description of the tip growth mechanism is given, that accounts for the composite structure of the tube walls. The shape and size of the catalytic particle determine the concentration gradient that drives the diffusion of C atoms across and though the metal. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:95 ,  Issue: 11 )