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ACS Nano. 2009 Nov 24;3(11):3560-6. doi: 10.1021/nn900613e.

Diffusion- and reaction-limited growth of carbon nanotube forests.

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  • 1Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.


We present a systematic study of the temperature and pressure dependence of the growth rate of vertically aligned small diameter (single- and few-walled) carbon nanotube forests grown by thermal chemical vapor deposition over the temperature range 560-800 degrees C and 10(-5) to 14 mbar partial pressure range, using acetylene as the feedstock and Al(2)O(3)-supported Fe nanoparticles as the catalyst. We observe a pressure dependence of P(0.6) and activation energies of <1 eV. We interpret this as a growth rate limited by carbon diffusion in the catalyst, preceded by a pre-equilibrium of acetylene dissociation on the catalyst surface. The carbon nanotube forest growth was recorded by high-resolution real-time optical imaging.

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