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ACS Nano. 2009 Aug 25;3(8):2157-62. doi: 10.1021/nn9003988.

Tailoring the morphology of carbon nanotube arrays: from spinnable forests to undulating foams.

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Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA.


Directly spinning carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers from vertically aligned CNT arrays is a promising way for the application of CNTs in the field of high-performance materials. However, most of the reported CNT arrays are not spinnable. In this work, by controlling catalyst pretreatment conditions, we demonstrate that the degree of spinnability of CNTs is closely related to the morphology of CNT arrays. Shortest catalyst pretreatment time led to CNT arrays with the best spinnability, while prolonged pretreatment resulted in coarsening of catalyst particles and nonspinnable CNTs. By controlling the coalescence of catalyst particles, we further demonstrate the growth of undulating CNT arrays with uniform and tunable waviness. The CNT arrays can be tuned from well-aligned, spinnable forests to uniformly wavy, foam-like films. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematical study on the correlation between catalyst pretreatment, CNT morphology, and CNT spinnability.

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