Self-assembly of multiwalled carbon nanotubes from quench-condensed CNi3 films

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Freestanding, vertical, multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are formed during the vacuum deposition of thin films of the metastable carbides CT3 (T=Ni, Co) onto fire-polished glass substrates. In contrast to widely used chemical and laser vapor deposition techniques, we utilize direct e-beam evaporation of arc-melted CT3 targets to produce MWCNTs that are self-assembled out of the CT3 -film matrix. The depositions are made in an ambient vapor pressure that is at least six orders of magnitude lower than the 1-100 Torr typically used in chemical vapor techniques. Furthermore, the substrates need not be heated, and, in fact, we observe a robust nanotube growth on liquid nitrogen cooled glass and sapphire substrates. High-resolution atomic force microscopy reveals that MWCNTs of heights 1-40 nm are formed in films with nominal thicknesses in the range of 5-60 nm. We show that the growth parameters of the nanotubes are very sensitive to the grain structure of the films. This is consistent with a precipitation mediated root-growth mechanism. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.

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Journal of Applied Physics

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