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Boston College Researchers discover 2 early stages of carbon nanotube growth

eir findings.

The first stage tubes, produced in zero to four minutes, are described as a tangle of random large and small diameter carbon nanotubes. The second stage tubes, created in four to ten minutes, are generally smaller in diameter, but taller and only partially aligned.

Wang says that while these nanotubes are not in neat, orderly rows, they do have the advantage of offer a larger volumetric density and create a larger surface area, which could be an important development in the use of carbon nanotubes in heat transfer in thermal management. A potential application could involve in applying a thin coating of carbon nanotubes to an integrated circuit in order to draw away heat and efficiently cool the device.

After ten minutes of plasma etching, the early stage nanotubes have been washed away and the third stage tubes begin to emerge in tall, ordered rows upon the substrate. At this stage, the tubes themselves are shielded by makeshift "helmets" of catalyst particles, which effectively protect them during the last part of the growth process. Eventually, these last bits of catalyst are etched away as well.

Contact: Ed Hayward
Boston College

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