Comparison Study of Catalyst Nanoparticle Formation and Carbon Nanotube Growth: Support Effect


Y. Wang, Luo, Z., Li, B., Ho, P. S., Yao, Z., Shi, L., Bryan, E., and Nemanich, R., “Comparison Study of Catalyst Nanoparticle Formation and Carbon Nanotube Growth: Support Effect,” J. App. Phys., vol. 101, pp. 124310, 2007.


A comparison study has been conducted on the formation of catalyst nanoparticles on a high surface tension metal and low surface tension oxide for carbon nanotube(CNT)growth via catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CCVD). Silicon dioxide (SiO2) and tantalum have been deposited as supporting layers before deposition of a thin layer of iron catalyst. Ironnanoparticles were formed after thermal annealing. It was found that densities, size distributions, and morphologies of ironnanoparticles were distinctly different on the two supporting layers. In particular, ironnanoparticles revealed a Volmer-Weber growth mode on SiO2 and a Stranski-Krastanov mode on tantalum. CCVD growth of CNTs was conducted on iron∕tantalum and iron∕SiO2. CNTgrowth on SiO2 exhibited a tip growth mode with a slow growth rate of less than 100nm/min. In contrast, the growth on tantalum followed a base growth mode with a fast growth rate exceeding 1μm/min. For comparison, plasma enhanced CVD was also employed for CNTgrowth on SiO2 and showed a base growth mode with a growth rate greater than 2μm/min. The enhanced CNTgrowth rate on tantalum was attributed to the morphologies of ironnanoparticles in combination with the presence of an iron wetting layer. The CNTgrowth mode was affected by the adhesion between the catalyst and support as well as CVD process.